Chapter 575: Long Time No See
The young woman seemed to understand the words themselves, but not their true meaning. She looked at Meng Hao silently, then lowered her gaze to the Spirit Fruit in her hand. After a long moment, she took a few steps back to lean up against the rock wall. She put the fruit in her mouth and ate it. A smile appeared on her face.
“I’m not sure what exactly you mean when you say ‘next life,’” she said with a light smile. “All I do know is that this Xu Qing of whom you speak is truly blessed.” The wind suddenly tousled her hair, which she tucked behind her ear.
Having finished speaking, she sat down and took a deep breath, then closed her eyes. Without any further words, she concealed within her eyes the enlightenment she didn’t wish anyone else to see.
She was an intelligent young woman, more intelligent than most other young women her age.
From the way Meng Hao spoke, she could tell that he was referring to something related to death.
“If you and Xu Qing have an agreement to meet here,” she murmured to herself, “if she is destined to awaken within my body. Well then… I am willing to let that happen. I am willing to let you reunite with her here.”
In this moment, in the Demon Immortal Sect, during that split second in which she, of her own initiative, expressed such willingness, a rare change suddenly occurred.
The Cultivators of South Heaven entered the Second Plane via host bodies. That was something that didn’t require the consent of the host bodies themselves. After all, they had long since perished, and were nothing more than corpses on the outside.
However… despite having been dead for so many years, the Primordial Demon Immortal Plane was special. Their spirits existed within the plane, and those spirits… if they were willing, could allow the outside Cultivators to completely take over their identity.
Normally speaking, the techniques cultivated by the host body that they had gained enlightenment regarding, would be available to the South Heaven Cultivators as vague memories. They could use them, but could not take them away.
It was like they were… outsiders.
Except now, something different was happening. A change was underway that would produce something more like… an insider.
The young woman’s eyes were closed hard, and did not reopen.
Everything was quiet. Meng Hao did not speak. He sat there cross-legged, looking up into the sky, waiting silently as time slipped by, waiting… for Xu Qing to wake up.
Under his protection, nothing would happen to her, and no one would be able to harm her in any way. Meng Hao did not cultivate any techniques. He simply watched as the sunlight grew brighter in the sky. He looked around at the world of the ancient Demon Immortal Sect. Within his heart, the feeling of being a part of this place only continued to grow stronger.
He suddenly felt very envious of Ke Jiusi.
He envied the family that Ke Jiusi had in this Sect. He envied all of his Brothers and Sisters. He envied the fact that Ke Jiusi had friends who would even kill for him. However, what he most envied was… that Ke Jiusi had such a good father.
Ke Jiusi had a father who would bend over backward for him. He would work hard behind the scenes to erase the scrawlings that were the errors committed by his son. He was a father whose tolerant heart could accept any errors on the part of his son.
And then, there was the white hair that filled his temples, and the death aura that he did his best to hide. Clearly, Ke Jiusi’s father, Paragon of the Fourth Peak, was reaching the end of his life.
“This is all just a play… and I’m merely observing it,” he thought. “But if that’s true, then why do I want so much to become a part of the play, to become one of the people here?”
He thought of Ke Yunhai, and his stern gaze. Deep within that gaze, Meng Hao could sense a deep love that somehow made him lose his way. He thought back to Mount Daqing and Yunjie County. He thought back to his own childhood, and his own father and mother.
Back then, he had been very happy, completely without a care in the world. But then the violet wind swept through Yunjie County, and everything vanished.
“Who is my father…?” he thought. As he gazed off into the sky, his mood sank. “Is he still alive in the world? Does he know that his image still exists in my thoughts, in my memories?”
Submerged as he was in this sea of bitterness, Meng Hao produced a flagon of alcohol from his bag of holding. He lifted it to his lips and took a long drink.
“Dad. Mom. Do you know that I’m already starting to forget what you look like…? It’s been too many years. The image of your faces is starting to fade away.
“I don’t want it to be that way. It’s just what happens when time passes. Sometimes I want to hold on to those images, but I can’t…. I really envy Ke Jiusi….” Meng Hao took another long drink of alcohol. It burned as it slid down his throat and into his anxiety.
Meng Hao rarely slipped into a mood such as this. Starting the year his father and mother went missing, he’d had no choice but to learn to be independent and strong. In this moment, though, because of Xu Qing, he had started thinking of the past. The memories of the Southern Domain, of Mount Daqing, and the relationship between Ke Jiusi and Ke Yunhai, all struck a chord within him. He couldn’t help but think of Yunjie County, his happy childhood, and of his parents.
He suddenly felt as if he understood this tyrannical silkpants, Ke Jiusi. If Ke Jiusi really was still alive, then perhaps after all the tens of thousands of years, this dead ancient Demon Immortal Sect was the only place where he truly existed.
He had never left. He was here to protect the Sect, to protect the Fourth Peak. Year after year, for an eternity, he was here to protect that Pure Land which existed in his heart.
Most likely, the people around Meng Hao in the Demon Immortal Sect would never be able to imagine what Ke Jiusi would be like tens of thousands of years later.
“He saw his father die. He watched his Sect become desolate. He looked on as his friends perished. In the end, he bore witness to the absolute destruction of the Sect.
“If I were him, what would I do…?” Thoughtfully, Meng Hao took another long drink. Evening was falling. An entire day had slipped by while Meng Hao wallowed in his emotions.
“Ke Jiusi sent me back here, to the era in which his father was dying. I think I understand… what he wants me to do.” A look of enlightenment filled his eyes. He was just raising the alcohol flagon to take another drink when suddenly, a hand reached out from behind him to grasp his wrist lightly.
As he turned his head, he felt someone embracing him tightly from behind. It felt just like the embrace from back by the Rebirth Cave, that embrace which was filled with the fear of loss.
A smile broke out on Meng Hao’s face. He didn’t speak, but rather, allowed the beautiful woman behind him to embrace him. She pressed up against his back, as if she were trying to hear his heart beating.
It was as if the only way she could prove that everything that was happening was real… was to hear his heart beating. Perhaps everything around them was a dream, but within that dream, the two of them had each other.
I thought that when I saw you, I would have the world. I didn’t know that within your dreams, you already had me.
It was evening, and soft, orange light shone down onto the Fourth Peak, creating dark shadows on the opposite side of the mountain. Within those dark shadows were two people, embracing each other.
They seemed to wish that time could stop forever. Their longing, their promise, were no longer like sand floating in the wind.
A long time passed. Soon, the sky was dark. Meng Hao looked at the woman in front of him. The features he saw were different from Xu Qing’s, but the soul was the same ever.
“You’re awake,” he said.
Because her soul was different, her facial features suddenly seemed to change a bit. She grew colder, less timid and nervous. She grew more simple. Less a stranger.
She was Xu Qing.
She was not intelligent like Han Bei. She was not incredibly beautiful like Chu Yuyan. She was Xu Qing. Simple and cold, like her heart. When she loved someone, she didn’t need a reason. She only needed to know that somehow, that person was part of her.
She wore the robe of an Outer Sect disciple and had long, beautiful hair. Her features were delicate, and although they couldn’t be described as immaculately beautiful, they caused Meng Hao to think of that one person who was always in his heart… Elder Sister Xu.
Xu Qing looked at Meng Hao, and a smile broke out on her face. A warmth could be seen in her pupils, as well as longing, and over a hundred years of memories. She looked at Meng Hao, and recalled their past.
He carried the look of someone who had experienced great changes, and was no longer young and inexperienced.
She gazed at Meng Hao for a long time. She didn’t ask why he was here, nor did she seem surprised to see him here as she woke up.
It was as if to Xu Qing, it didn’t matter where she saw Meng Hao, or when. Any time she encountered him, she felt at ease, calm.
Surrounded by bustling crowds, you look at me, I look at you, and we smile at each other.
It was as if such a meeting had happened a million times for her already. It was as if from beginning to end, even that time in the Violet Sea, she had complete and utter faith that the two of them would in fact meet again one day.
“Not surprised?” said Meng Hao, smiling.
“Why would I be surprised?” she said, shaking her head and smiling. “You made a promise, and we had an agreement… to meet again.”
As Meng Hao looked at her, much of the bitterness in his heart faded away. His smile grew wider. This was Xu Qing. Plain and simple Xu Qing.
She believed that they would meet again. Because of their agreement with each other, it didn’t matter when or where it was, she wouldn’t be surprised. It was all because of her firm belief.
“It’s been many years…. Have you been well?” she asked softly. To her, Meng Hao might be a few years younger than her. However, despite the fact that more than a hundred years had passed, his image never left her heart.
She could never forget that time she watched as he leaned out over the edge of the cliff, holding down a rope to Wang Youcai and the others, and at the same time, making fun of them.
She could never forget what he looked like in the ancient Blessed Land, when he stood protectively in front of her during her moment of helplessness.
Even more unforgettable was the time in the Black Sieve Sect when, after merging with Matriarch Phoenix, she had woken up. Meng Hao had been about to leave the Sect when he turned and smiled at her.
Never in her life would she be capable of forgetting what happened outside the Rebirth Cave.
If secrets could count as accumulated emotions between two people, then she and Meng Hao had many. There were many secrets that only the two of them could understand.
“I went to the Black Lands, and the Western Desert,” Meng Hao said with a smile. As the evening wind blew Xu Qing’s hair into disarray, Meng Hao reached up and grasped her wrist.
She lowered her head, a slight smile tugging at her lips.
“So did I,” she said, looking back up at him.
“I know,” he replied, grinning.
The soft moonlight shone down on the two of them, covering them like a layer of silver sand. The beautiful wind lifted up their long hair.
Xu Qing looked at Meng Hao, then suddenly gaped in astonishment as she realized something. Her eyes filled with a strange look.
“Wait…. Why… why do you look the same as before?”
This chapter was sponsored by Jefferson Bell