Chapter 82: Escaping the Nightmare
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
She was trembling and looking at him fearfully with no way of answering.
He caressed her bare shoulder and she jolted, instinctively wanting to hide, but his grip was firm as he reached down to grab her waist.
“Ye Xingling,” he said. “just surrender already.”
She was practically on the verge of insanity as she struggled against all odds and kicked him profusely. Unfortunately, her efforts were futile, he had suppressed her with might.
Just as she was about to lose all hope, a leopard silently appeared in the corner of the room behind Pei Ziheng. It was looking right at her.
It was… Er Mao!
For the first time in her life, she genuinely embraced its presence and was overwhelmed.
The slight change in her expression could not escape Pei Ziheng’s discerning eyes. He seemed to notice something was off and turned around, only to see Er Mao pouncing on him. Pei Ziheng ducked to the side and avoided the attack, but his right arm and shirt had been scratched by Er Mao’s razor-sharp claws, and blood was beginning to trickle down his arm.
Er Mao landed on the ground lightly. Without glancing at Xia Ling, it arched its back slightly and stared at Pei Ziheng.
It did not let out a roar, as if knowing that the man before him did not warrant one. Pei Ziheng was not making a sound either as he stared back at the leopard and got into a defensive pose, with no attempt to shrink back nor a hint of anxiousness.
She remembered Pei Ziheng had mentioned in her last life that heirs like him had to undergo harsh training since they were young, and even being outnumbered by a few bodyguards during a fight was manageable for them. But she could not tell whether Er Mao or he was stronger. After all, Er Mao was a carnivorous beast.
Xia Ling’s mind was in a flurry.
The man and leopard standing on opposing ends took a few steps anticlockwise, with no other significant movement. Suddenly, as Pei Ziheng bumped into the table behind him, Er Mao took the opportunity and leaped towards him, aiming for his neck.
Pei Ziheng managed to evade it once again, meanwhile reaching for a sword on the wall.
What appeared to be a wall decoration was, in fact, a sharp, well-polished sword. Even from a few meters away, Xia Ling could clearly sense the threat it posed.
Er Mao went low with its ears drawn back, and with a powerful swing of its tail, it went for him once more.
They were shifting positions too quickly for her to keep up. With the mattress and furniture between her and the two of them, she could barely see what was going on. Xia Ling tugged at the handcuffs and, when it still did not budge, she got anxious. She badly wanted to be aware of the situation, but at this point, she had no idea who she was more worried for — Pei Ziheng or Er Mao.
Unexpectedly, she heard the leopard’s groan, sounding like a cross between anger and pain.
Xia Ling got a shock and stretched as far as she could to find out what had happened. Behind the mattress, she saw Er Mao on the ground, its shoulder evidently injured as blood dyed its fur.
But it did not back off. It continued the battle.
She understood that it was here to save her and would not surrender for as long as she was not saved. Xia Ling was even more flustered, but all she could do was tug at the cuffs in the hope that it would unbuckle, but all that greeted her was more pain.
“You’ll never get it opened this way.” She heard an indolent voice.
Xia Ling stopped what she was doing and looked up, seeing a familiar figure.
“Hi, Xiao Ling.” He smiled at her, his voice slow and listless as usual, but it managed to put her at ease.
Xia Ling gazed at him like he was her life savior, and he sure did not disappoint. With a twist or two, he had managed to undo the cuffs effortlessly.
Her wrists had finally regained freedom and she fumbled to sit upright. As she adjusted her posture, her nightgown had slipped further off her shoulders and she hurriedly covered her front. There was simply too little fabric and it was too thin — she dared not move further, and instead chose to curl into a ball.
Li Lei squinted and tilted his head slightly. “Red… too blood-like, it doesn’t suit you.”
With that, he scanned the surroundings and casually grabbed the beaded tassels, placing them over her. “This is much better.”
He had grabbed just the right amount of fabric — it covered her nicely, giving her space for movement but not too much excess cloth. With an extra layer over her, she felt more secure and gave him a look of gratitude.
He asked her, “Can you walk?”
She nodded and got off the bed, standing upright.
“Come with me, let’s get out of here.”
Xia Ling did not follow immediately. She was looking in the corner where the man and beast were wrestling. Furniture had been knocked over and shattered while traces of blood lined the floor, it could be either of theirs.
She was uptight.
Li Lei looked toward the scene. “It’s alright, Er Mao can hold him back.”
Pei Ziheng seemed to have sensed movement as he turned his head towards them abruptly in the midst of his scuffle, glaring intently at Li Lei. His deadly expression accompanied by the blood on his clothes made him appear like a terrifying devil.
Xia Ling could not help but shrink back behind Li Lei, evading his line of sight.
Li Lei grabbed her hand. “Let’s go!”
With his lead, she stumbled out the door, the fabric over her hooking onto something on the way and the beads scattering on the ground. The last time she caught a glance of the scene, Er Mao had pounced onto Pei Ziheng once again and he had shielded himself with the sword, the battle continued.
Li Lei led her across a long hallway, took a bend, went one floor down, and sped past the dining and meeting rooms.
Her mind was filled with images the whole way down — Pei Ziheng’s bloody upper body and Er Mao’s low, angry growl were flashing in her head in alternation. Down the corridor, into the garden, the racket could still be heard — ravaging of furniture, shattering of glass, and lights that danced and swayed unsteadily…
She lost her balance once, almost tripping and falling.
Throughout the escape, Li Lei had never loosened his firm, assuring grip on her.
As they were approaching the exit on the first floor, Xia Ling had a dizzy spell and was having trouble focusing. The next moment she had stepped onto something and a sharp pain consumed her foot, she lost her balance and fell on the ground.
Li Lei reflexively held her and helped her into a corner, avoiding a stray bullet. “Are you alright?”
She instinctively opened her mouth but could not make a sound.
His expression turned dark. “Your voice?”