”Uhn… ” Hong Ru ’s freshly created eyes were filled with curiosity and confusion. ’Where am I? ’ She tried to observe the surroundings, but the lighting had made everything indistinct as her eyes tried to adjust. She could only discern a tall silhouette hovering over her body and, in the background, several silhouettes that glinted with reflective light.
’What happened? Where am I? What is this?! ’ She tried to move, feeling a gradually receding numb sensation within her fingers, hands, and forearms. She could feel traces of air circulating between her fingers. Slowly, she clenched her fist to get the feedback from the pressure.
When she tried to speak, to ask a question, her voice came out in mumbles. She wasn ’t sure if she heard herself wrong or not, but it sounded like baby noises. A wisp of frustration emerged within her heart. Why was this happening?
Her heartbeat started to race. She felt a headache that pounded incessantly, her mind trying to recall the last events in her memory. But she had to go through some massive exploring, recalling her most emotional memories first.
Her fifth birthday. She was celebrated by her entire family. It was one of her fondest memories filled with happiness and love.
When she was fifteen and received word of her cousin ’s death. How she cried for days in grief, unable to eat for quite a while. She had given her father quite a scare.
When she was sixteen, meeting a frigid-acting young woman in a meeting between clans. She found her interesting, curious, and incessantly asked her questions without pause. But she received indifference and a cold shoulder, which only made her more curious, and more intent on causing this wintry young girl to change her expression.
When the two of them became official disciples of the sect, entering the Astral Core Realm on the same day. They competed against each other, and while it ended in what was declared a draw, she felt that she had lost by a small margin. This ignited her spirit, and their rivalry continued for decades.
There were so many memories, many of which included that white haired young woman. She tried to speak again and when she did, her words were more stable and clear.
”Xi-Xiao Bin…g… ” After saying that name, tears welled up within her eyes.
She was participating in the Grand Spirit Trials. She had met Xiao Bing after noticing her distinct aura nearby, an aura she was extremely familiar with. They met another girl, and they traveled trying to subdue beasts. But they met Huangfu Jinwei. He was chasing after Long Chen, a young boy that the two girls found interesting. It felt like their rivalry had extended to him, both trying to one-up each other in protecting him.
They unwittingly became close to this boy, one of the few boys they had ever decided to give their attention to.
Her head started to hurt and her body shifted about in discomfort. She knew what happened, but she didn ’t want to remember.
”Hong Ru! I ’m here. ”
She heard a soft voice that carried a hint of icy essence, and it calmed her raging emotions. She discovered that she was now surrounded by silhouettes, and the closest one held her hand, revealing an expression she hadn ’t thought she would ever see—a smile.
It was merely a smile, but it was extremely new to her.
Her new eyes soon adjusted, and a gorgeous face revealed itself. Her white hair, extremely ample set of bosoms that rivaled her own, even two adult handfuls might not be enough for one mountain, and icy-pale skin gave her both an alluring and familiar feeling.
”You ’re okay, I ’m here. ” Xiao Bing spoke again while tightly holding Hong Ru ’s hand. Hong Ru clenched that hand hard, her tears still falling.
’I died. But, I ’m alive. I ’m alive…I ’M ALIVE! ’ A wave of excitement, of emotions that very few living would ever feel, surged within her heart like a storm of tsunamis. She had felt her body be eaten, her head crushed by the inner mouth of that wolf, and her last bits of consciousness fading as a burning sensation of acid touched her skin.
She reached out and grabbed Xiao Bing, pulling her closer, as if wanting to melt into her. Her strength was terrifying, exceeding what one would think a freshly created body could possess. This new body of hers was made with the support of a Sixth Stage Astral Core Realm expert ’s fire force and an eighth-grade paste. Simply the energies within her flesh, both physical or elemental, could crush any World Sea Phase expert.
Feeling the imposing strength, Xiao Bing didn ’t feel an ounce of pain. She merely returned the embrace. The two, one clothed and one naked, were tightly hugging each other without holding anything back.
The sight of a revival and reunion was extremely emotional. Long Tingyu couldn ’t help but produce two sets of joyful rivers from her eyes. She was still a little girl, so her response was the most emotional. The others were more calm, not crying, but feeling extremely happy.
Regardless of who, besides Qing Qiumu who spent most of her time in cultivation with her ancestor, and Long Tingyu who did the same, they had all been saved by these two before. It was only because of these two that many obstacles were eliminated or stopped from hindering their path. They gave them backing that dissuaded others from abusing their Power of Authority.
They were all close to these two, especially Lin Ziyan.
While she wasn ’t originally the most beautiful amongst the group, when Qing Qiumu and Long Tingyu left, she became the target of everyone ’s ill-intentions. While Lian Yu and Wu Baozhai were extraordinary, they were still a few notches below her in terms of innate beauty or talent. Furthermore, she was the only one amongst the three who still had her Primal Yin.
As for Na Xinyi, for some reason, whenever enemies targeted them, they avoided harming her. Usually, by some unknown manner, when they investigated them, their enemies were always faintly aware of her ambiguous connection with Wei Wuyin. Thinking back on it, she felt extremely bitter. There were times where Na Xinyi would be captured or threatened, but she never suffered a single scratch.
But if it wasn ’t for the timely assistance of Hong Ru and Xiao Bing, she might ’ve suffered long before being captured by that Ji woman. So, how could she miss this? She was genuinely happy for Hong Ru, and this fortified her understanding of Wei Wuyin ’s abilities.
The concept of revival, of bringing a disembodied soul back to life, was far beyond her understanding. Yet Wei Wuyin had casually performed such a feat. And he wasn ’t even present.
Hong Ru finally recognized the other figures behind Xiao Bing. Her eyes became extremely moist, threatening to spew out a set of raging rivers. She held out her arms, wanting to hug them also. She knew who her friends were.
Several hours later, Hong Ru had fully clothed herself, regaining her scarlet-colored eyes with a fiery light. She had cried herself nearly dry alongside Xiao Bing, who still held her hand, unwilling to let go. The two were like contrasting fraternal twins, one hot, one cold, but they both seemingly gained their mother ’s large assets and innate beauty. Even their height was the exact same.
Hong Ru had just familiarized herself with her new body and learned of what happened after her ’death ’. She learned about the fate of Huangfu Jinwei, which instantly sated her desire for wicked vengeance, and Wei Wuyin ’s victory in the Grand Spirit Trials. She found it strange that the Grand Spirit Trials were made because of Wei Wuyin, and in the end, he won it all. Moreover, he won it by being unchallenged.
She learned about Long Chen revealing his status as the Grand Monarch ’s Successor, which shook her. She also learned that using the legendary Three Orders of the Grand Prince, he had sought the sect ’s strength to revive her completely. When Long Chen described this, the expressions of Lin Ziyan, Qing Qiumu, and Wu Baozhai had changed slightly.
If Qin Rui was here, even she would experience a change. While he wasn ’t wrong, he also wasn ’t right. After all, Wei Wuyin had assisted because he wanted to, not because of any order. Wei Wuyin was a Heavenly King and they could be considered direct competitors to the Grand Prince, so they were immune from the orders.
Hong Ru also learned that Lin Ziyan had fully recovered, just like her, and she felt much closer to her. After all, they both survived tragedies with untold difficulty.
”Thank you, Long Chen. ” She gave her deepest and most heartfelt thanks.
Long Chen smiled brightly, ”No need. I did what I should. ” He basked in it, feeling a little embarrassed. He liked Xiao Bing and Hong Ru, and seeing these two well-endowed, gorgeous women together caused his heart to slightly race. If he were lucky enough to…
The very thought stimulated him amidst his joy.
Na Xinyi couldn ’t help but fix her gaze on Lin Ziyan. A flush of worry flooded her thoughts. She had assumed Lin Ziyan would be in her crippled state for much longer. But she had poured her heart out to Lin Ziyan ’s near-comatose state, and she wasn ’t certain if she remembered anything. If the Lin Ziyan she remembered did, she might run to Long Chen immediately and tell him her thoughts.
If she did…
If he knew…
She…she didn ’t know if she should be worried or happy. This feeling brought about a complex conflict in her heart.
Wu Baozhai on the other hand couldn ’t help but glance at Lin Ziyan, realizing that she hadn ’t made any attempts to get close to Long Chen. Before, she would always position herself the closest to Long Chen, clearly trying to state her intentions. But now, she was even ensuring a set distance between her and Long Chen remained.
’Did Wei Wuyin do something to her? ’ She felt that, given Wei Wuyin ’s personality and actions thus far, he would find it beneath him to play hidden tricks. He wasn ’t bothered by Na Xinyi ’s indecision nor Qing Qiumu ’s close relationship with Long Chen. This showed that he wasn ’t the jealous-type, or at least the jealous possessive type that tried to claim women as objects of his own.
Those opulent young masters of various clans or leaders of factions within the sect had this type of mentality or a variation of it. The competitive environment was a breeding ground for obsessive ego and a need for control, especially towards the fairer sex. However, Wei Wuyin had always shown a distinctive respect for women and their choices. There were no rumors of him aggressively pursuing women or forcefully snatching beauties as trophies.
If we eliminated the improbable, then the only thing she could think of was…
Her mind instantly recalled a memory. A memory of Wei Wuyin talking to Long Chen at Qing Qiumu ’s execution. He had cleverly goaded Long Chen into giving up his ring, using psychological tactics. At the time, she hadn ’t taken it too seriously, but there was a certain exchange:
”Lin Ziyan, oh Lin Ziyan. ” Wei Wuyin folded his arms and tilted his head slightly. ”Did you know, I was ’this ’ close to marrying her all those years ago. To think she would end up like this, tch tch. Her life might ’ve been better if she… ” He shook his head with a wisp of pity in his eyes, but the implication was clear.
”Shut up! She would never marry you! ” Long Chen ’s breathing became erratic as his Slaughter and Sword Intent flared within his eyes, unleashing a faint spiritual pressure.
Wei Wuyin remained entirely unbothered, his eyes similarly flickering with Saber Intent. He was completely unaffected by this level of spiritual suppression, and shrugged it off as he calmly stated: ”She once came to the Scarlet Solaris Sect and said that anyone who could reach a certain level of the Haven Heart Qi Method would earn her hand in marriage. As you can clearly see… ”
Wei Wuyin lifted a finger, causing Saber and Elemental Qi to flow upwards and become two wisps that intermingled and swirled around each other above his finger. It was quite a beautiful and elegant display of qi control.
Long Chen gritted his teeth.
”Oh? It seems you already knew about her promise. She must ’ve given it out often. Then, you should know that I cultivated it fully when I was twenty-six. You would ’ve been, what? Twenty-one at the time, right? ”
She recalled every little detail perfectly. Her countenance paled slightly. Is it possible that Wei Wuyin had told her? No, that ’s impossible. If he wanted to tell her this before, he could ’ve long done it numerous times.
Then, how would she have learned of this? She wasn ’t present that day? Her thoughts scurried about as she recalled the numerous visits everyone had given to Lin Ziyan on the regular, even taking turns watching over her.
One of them must ’ve mentioned it…
One of them…
Her light-brown eyes swept those present. The bad feeling she had earlier spiraled into an exploding eruption. Just as she thought this, Lin Ziyan spoke words that caused her heart to plunge. Words that the Lin Ziyan she knew would never have spoken, never have suggested with Long Chen nearby.
”Sister Bing, Sister Hong, I ’ve asked Wei Wuyin to allow you both to cultivate in his Sky Palace. It ’s the quickest way to regain your cultivation base, Hong Ru, and this would be a good opportunity for Xiao Bing. ” Her words caused everyone to look towards her with unexpected surprise or complex emotions.
’So it ’s true… ’ Wu Baozhai ’s expression became unsightly, knowing what was to come as she witnessed Long Chen ’s expression contort in real-time.
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