The Witch Nichang- Chapter 87 Darkness

The Witch Nichang– Chapter 87

Darkness

Lian’er wouldn’t know what her prank meant to me. She wouldn’t know how mad it made me to use her own safety as a bait for the prank. 

When I heard the first sentence, for a moment, I felt a chill running through my body from head to toe, and beneath that chill, anger simmered. I didn’t want to say anything; I just wanted to get away, but as if it had all been anticipated, a pair of arms had stopped me from behind before I could move.  

Then I heard the second sentence. Strangely, most of my agitation that arose from the first sentence dissipated after hearing that. 

Perhaps it was because I understood why she did that. She just wanted to get her revenge. She had an extreme personality. She either didn’t care, or if she did, she would fuss over the smallest thing. I knew this part of her ever since she was a little kid. I knew she must have been bottling up her anger the few times I had been in danger. I just never expected it to come out like this.

I used to think she wouldn’t bother to do jokes and pranks. Before, she would only do such things to her enemies. It was like a cat toying with a mouse. Hidden behind her playful acts, there was always a deadly purpose. 

And could there be any other reason behind this prank than to express her resentment? Could her wanting me to know what it’s like to worry about her mean she cares about me as much as I care about her? Could it even be that… 

Maybe… I’m overthinking it again…

I shook my head with a wry smile. Yes, Lian’er’s idea of caring for each other referred only to each other’s safety. 

“You’re spacing out and shaking your head. What’s on your mind?” A curious voice sounded, just inches away. I was taken aback for a moment before realizing that the darkness wasn’t a problem for Lian’er. 

It was a little embarrassing to think that Lian’er had seen me panic since the beginning. 

It was just that I had been through an emotional rollercoaster earlier. This slight embarrassment was nothing compared to that. On the contrary, my once taut nerves, frayed from the constant torment, now seemed to snap or stop working. 

The darkness enveloped me. Being in it shut out my senses, and it allowed me to let loose. Now that my feelings ebbed, exhaustion washed over me. So as I relaxed and leaned into her, my mind stilled. There was only so much space, anyway. The arms behind my back didn’t seem to want to let up either. It was tiring to resist. 

Perhaps the success of her prank had put her in a great mood. Lian’er didn’t push any further. She held me like it was natural to her and even patted my back. I realized more and more that she seemed to enjoy being in control. Especially recently, she began to treat me the way I used to treat her when she was a kid. Such a realization left me at a loss as to what to do.

“Lian’er…”

After a moment of silence in the dark, I couldn’t help but say, “Don’t pull pranks like that ever again. It’s scary.”

Amid the gurgling of the water, she gave a non-committal response, but then added casually, “Then you have to promise not to try to be a hero in the future. Otherwise, it’s not fair that only you can scare me and I can’t.”

“That’s not trying to be a hero. I’m older than you…”

Perhaps the darkness allows us to let loose. Even though I knew that I shouldn’t bring this up, I couldn’t help myself. It was the first time I had ever mentioned that to her.

“So what if you’re older?” As expected, she wasn’t pleased about it, her voice rising a few notches. With her voice echoing in this small space, it gave off a sense of aggression. “Age or status, it’s all irrelevant. What’s the big deal about being born a few years earlier and following Master first? Hmph, you should know that in the end, it’s who’s stronger that matters.”

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I had done the wrong thing. Hearing her reaction, I kept quiet, planning to steer the conversation away once she was done ranting. It was my fault. I knew that it was foolish to challenge her directly, especially since it was something she had always been sensitive about. It would become a problem if I triggered her competitiveness. 

Her hands moved even as she spoke. Perhaps it felt good to pat my back, and now she gave me a few more pats as she talked, but this time, her hand landed on the wrong place. Although her pats were light, they made me shiver. 

I thought I had the shivering under control, but Lian’er was perceptive. She stopped talking immediately and asked suspiciously, “What’s wrong?” As she asked, I could sense her head lowering, her breath closer. 

“Nothing.” I quickly deflected. Remembering that she could see in the dark, I even kept a straight face. 

There were a few spots on my back that were throbbing with pain, the same with my hands. I figured they were from my way down here earlier, bumping and scraping against the rocks. Either way, I didn’t want Lian’er to know because no matter what her reaction would be, it wasn’t something I would like to see. What I wanted even less was for her to add another entry to my “trying to be a hero” scorecard. 

I had also reflected on whether I had been too accommodating of her, but everything had become a habit. Lian’er had always been strong headed, but back then, I just felt like I was cajoling a stubborn child. From then until now, she had grown up. I was aware of it, but at the same time I wasn’t. Perhaps that was the source of her resentment. 

When you couldn’t see anything, it was easy to zone out. So after trying to deflect her question, I could barely keep a straight face for a moment before I lost myself in thought without knowing. That was why I was so shocked when I suddenly felt something moving under my clothes!

I let out a short, startled yelp, thinking that there was something in the water. Panicked, I was about to roll over. Who knew Lian’er held me tighter, and I heard her voice right next to my ear, saying impatiently, “Don’t move. Why are you shouting? Feeling guilty?” That was when I realized that “something” was nothing but her hand. 

I suddenly realized what was happening, but my heart refused to calm down. Anyone in my place would have found it hard to stay calm. A hand slipped under my clothes from the nape of my neck, sliding brazenly on my back, moving up and down. The wet, slippery sensation was undeniable. In a way, it was worse than an unknown creature crawling under my shirt.

“Lian’er, what are you doing? It’s… ticklish. Can you stop?” I couldn’t get away, so I tried to wriggle away from her in a futile attempt to resist. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, uh, maybe I wanted to cry. 

My face must be alternating between red and ashen. I just didn’t know if she could see it. Even if she could, I didn’t think she would care. “I didn’t know that you’re ticklish.” Sure enough, Lian’er replied casually, “If there’s anything you haven’t told me, I’ll find out for myself. You can’t hide it from me. Don’t move.”

The space was too small, and there was water all around. Being in her arms, I was pinned, unable to move. Hearing what she said, I really felt like crying. Had I put myself in this situation? 

I was panicking and also embarrassed, wondering if I should tell the truth, but the hand under my clothes suddenly pressed on somewhere around my shoulder blade, sending a sharp pain through my body as I tried to get away. I wasn’t ready for this. My body went stiff, and I let out a low grunt. At that moment, I stopped moving. 

When I stopped moving, Lian’er became gentle with her touch.

The space fell silent in the dark, back to the tranquility of only the sounds of gurgling water and breathing. There was no rustling of clothes as everything was wet. Lian’er’s hand glided silently under my clothes, like a slippery and boneless fish.

“Here.” After exploring for a while, her finger touched a spot on my spine, then moved swiftly and accurately to two other spots including the one on my shoulder blade and said, “Here and here. Something’s not right with these three spots. They feel warmer than the other places. They were fine when you were changing earlier. They’re new.”

“Um…” Since I failed to evade the question earlier, I found myself at her mercy. I hadn’t expected her to find out every single injury like this, so I had to admit, “I was in a hurry when I came down and bumped into something a few times… it’s just bruises, nothing serious.”

Lian’er made a non-committal “hm” sound at that, showing no particular emotion. Her hand, the one touching my back, continued to press gently, but suddenly, she grabbed my right arm with another hand. As she lifted my arm, the sleeve slid down naturally. She took a quick look and huffed, “Just as I thought… You’re not scared, are you? Do you want to break your arm again?”

I chuckled nervously and replied under my breath, “Of course not… It’s my right arm, not the left one that was injured before, and it’s just a little scrape. Nothing serious… ” As I spoke, feeling a little guilty, I wanted to pull my arm back. But her hand tightened around my wrist, so tight that it started to hurt. 

I was startled, then I realized that, at some point, her breathing had become heavier in the dark. 

“Lian…er?” I called her tentatively. Maybe because I called her, the pressure on my wrist eased a little, though she didn’t let go.

Her other hand, however, was stroking my back, seemingly unconsciously. When it brushed over my injuries, I felt a mix of pain and itchiness. 

“Why don’t you ever get it?” I couldn’t see her face, but when Lian’er’s voice came through the dark, it carried a trace of frustration, as if something was making her anxious. “Why can’t you act within your means? You were the one who taught me that. Why can’t you take your own advice? Rushing down here so recklessly. What if something happens? What are you going to do, huh?”

Faced with this sudden outburst, I opened my mouth but eventually chose to stay silent and didn’t offer any explanations that I had ready in my mind. 

As expected, she wasn’t waiting for me to explain. Lian’er understood even without me explaining. Her outburst was probably not about this, or more precisely, not just about this.

“You’re weak.” She continued on her own. As if trying to convey her feelings, she said, “You have your strong points and many admirable qualities, but you are still weak. You shouldn’t try to be a hero. Strong is strong, weak is weak. Getting it wrong can cost you your life. You just need to protect yourself. No one wants you to go around worrying about other people.”

“Lian’er, you’re not other people… ” I couldn’t help but protest about that. 

“But I want you to be with me, not to have you constantly worrying about how to protect me!”

Her tone suddenly became stern, and after that, she sighed and continued, her tone softening, “I’m Lian Nichang. I don’t need anyone’s protection, and you’re not under my command, but I keep seeing you trying to act tough. Just this morning, who told you to chase after the water? When you fell into the quicksand, why didn’t you answer my call? And when everyone has their own water, who are you saving yours for? And you haven’t taken a sip yourself until now!”

“I’ve… had some… ” Perhaps I was desperate to change the subject, I, for some reason, started to lie, “You just didn’t see… ”

When I was feeling guilty for blurting this out, Lian’er paused for a moment and then let out a soft laugh, her voice softening, “You did?”

The change in her tone set off an alarm bell in my head. That was the prelude to her fury. Before I could backtrack, she released my wrist, and my right arm was free, but my chin was gripped, my head fixed. A finger touched my parched lips.

“It’s drier than before… ” Her breath was close, tinged with amusement as she drawled, “Are you saying you’ve had water before? Hmm?”

What’s going on with her tonight? I couldn’t help but lament to myself. Is it something off with me or with Lian’er? She had been assertive at times in the past, but I had usually found ways to get around, at least I could tone her down a little. When have I been this helpless? Could it be the tight space and the darkness?

Realizing that I couldn’t remain passive, I shook my head, but I still couldn’t break the grip on my chin. I pursed my lips, made a pained expression, and pleaded, “Lian’er, stop, you’re hurting me.”

It did indeed hurt. No matter how gentle Lian’er was with her touch, when it brushed over those small cracks on my lips, it felt extremely uncomfortable. 

“Oh… ” Lian’er replied. I wasn’t sure if she had also noticed. Although the grip on my chin hadn’t relaxed much, the pressure of her fingertip on my lips was gone. 

Successful with the first step. Before I could think of the next step to appease her. In the dark, something softer approached.

Soft, smooth, and a familiar scent enveloped me. It glided deftly over my lips, pressing gently, and my dry lips were painted with warmth and moisture.

“Doesn’t hurt now, right?” she asked as her tongue met my lips. 

My eyes widened. It was pitch black in front of me, but my mind was blank white.


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5 Comments

  1. jb

    AHHHHH! Love this–thank you for translating.

  2. dark4sis

    Thanks for the chapter and taking the time to translate ^^

  3. DaoReader

    Could it be? no … maybe?

  4. Observe

    Finally! I wonder if our MC will finally realize Lian’s feelings 🥺

    Also, just as an aside, the next chapter link from last chapter to this one is missing the word Chapter and the corresponding number.

  5. cornonthekopp

    whoaaaaaa I had a feeling it was coming but still… Lian’er on the attack, I wonder how much she recognizes her own feelings..?

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