Chapter 689: Is There Really Such a Thing as Rebirth?
Xu Qing was smiling, and it was beautiful. Although her hair was white and her face covered with wrinkles, her smile was as beautiful as ever.
She gazed softly at Meng Hao, and a glow filled her face that could almost be described as holy. She appeared to be seeing everything that had happened on Mount Daqing and in the Reliance Sect. Each scene ended with Meng Hao, and when that happened, her eyes seemed to fill with all of the love that existed in her life.
She had a simple personality, and was not the type of person to allow the seeds of love to be planted easily. However, once those seeds were planted… they existed for a lifetime.
She held Meng Hao in her arms as she walked forward step by step, directly into the ghastly cave mouth in the side of the mountain, the Rebirth Cave.
Stepping into the cave was like passing through the barrier that existed between life and death. In that instant, everything turned black, and no more warmth existed. There was not even a scrap of the life that existed in Heaven and Earth. The only thing that remained was stifling death and infinite coldness.
The outside of the Rebirth Cave, and the inside of the cave, were two different worlds.
One was a world of life, the other was a world of death.
When Xu Qing carried Meng Hao inside, all of the wills inside the cave retreated back into the recesses of the cave to watch from afar.
To them, when Meng Hao and Xu Qing were on the outside, they were people from a different world. Not only were they envious and jealous of them, they also scorned and disdained them.
But now that Xu Qing had carried Meng Hao into the Rebirth Cave, they were all the same, and all existed in the same world.
Here, there was no power of Heaven and Earth. When living things entered the cave, their life force would fade away even more rapidly than before. When it disappeared, when they were inundated with death, then all they could do was wait for the supposed… awakening.
Xu Qing walked onward with Meng Hao, her face pale, her body trembling. Her life force was rapidly fading away, and as for the single strand that existed within Meng Hao, it would soon be completely gone.
In the moment when Meng Hao’s strand of life disappeared, Xu Qing kissed his lips again, delivering more of her own life force… into him.
By the time she had walked a few dozen meters into the cave, Xu Qing’s face was completely ancient, and her body was extremely withered. She was thin and emaciated, with no trace of youth left in her at all. She had lost everything.
She sat down cross-legged.
“Meng Hao,” she murmured, “I can’t go any further….” He now lay resting across her legs, his face devoid of blood, his features ancient. She looked down at him. “When I joined the Reliance Sect, I had already promised myself that I would never marry anyone, not for my entire life. I would not become someone’s beloved. Instead, I would focus solely on cultivation….” She stroked his face with a hand that had once been as lustrous as jade, but was now dried up and old.
“But then you came along….” she said. Her face flushed a bit as she looked at him for a long moment. Then she leaned down and kissed him again, delivering more of her life force.
As the life force entered him, a bit of color returned to his face. On the other hand, Xu Qing’s only became more withered. The amount of life force she had was only growing less and less.
“You had only been in the sect for a short time when you happened to get that medicinal pill,” she murmured. “When you ended up giving the pill to me as a gift… my face was calm, but my heart was actually filled with joy.
“Not because of you, but because of the pill.” She smiled. “I gave you the Immortal’s cave because I figured it would make us even. But then, you crafty little fox, you managed to entangle me even further. You got your hands on a Cosmetic Cultivation Pill….” When she thought back to everything that had happened back then, her smile grew sweeter, and she gently stroked Meng Hao’s cheek.
“Did you know that when you killed Zhao Wugang, I secretly helped to make sure no one found out? Down to this day, I don’t think you ever realized that.
“And then you opened your shop in the sect…. Ai. If I wasn’t there… well, let’s just say that by that time a lot of people had taken an interest in you.” Xu Qing wanted to smile, but suddenly was overtaken by a fit of coughing. Fearful of disturbing Meng Hao, she covered her mouth. When she lowered her hand, it was covered with purplish blood.
“If the Reliance Sect hadn’t been destroyed, I wonder how things would have turned out…. When I was taken to the Black Sieve Sect, I was met with coldness. Everything was strange, and I had to deal with that malicious Elder Brother….
“Back then, I really missed the Reliance Sect, and I missed the State of Zhao. I missed… you.” She looked down, and delivered another strand of life force to Meng Hao.
Her face was pale white, and her body frail and withered. She looked like a lamp that was on the verge of flickering out, and she was well aware that every bit of life force she gave to Meng Hao caused her own death to approach even more quickly.
Right now, she could still abandon Meng Hao. If she left the Rebirth Cave, because of her special soul, she could easily return to the outside world and recover all of her life force.
But she did not do that. Nor did she regret the decision.
“You don’t know it,” she murmured, “but when I saw you in the crowds of people, at first, I thought I was dreaming…. Then, in my moment of despair in the ancient Blessed Land, you appeared. From that moment on, you were in my heart.
“Not long after, you saved me again, from the discarnate soul of Matriarch Phoenix.
“Later, outside the Rebirth Cave, I could only weep as I watched you disappear into the distance. My heart hurt so bad….
“When I went to the Violet Sea, I couldn’t find you, but I could sense that you were so close….
“Finally, I saw you again in the ancient Demon Immortal Sect. Meng Hao… I was so happy then. Thank you.” She looked down at him for a long moment.
She didn’t speak very often about how she felt, but her actions showed how deeply her love went. Anyone in Heaven and Earth who could have a companion like this could die without any regrets.
“Meng Hao, I can’t hold on much longer….” She was not a flickering lamp any more. She had reached the end of the road. If she closed her eyes now, then she would never open them again.
Perhaps if she closed her eyes, then years later, someone would come into the Rebirth Cave to find their bodies. A woman, sitting cross-legged. A man, reclining across her legs.
One sleeping. The other smiling. Through all eternity….
“You live, I live. You die, I die….
“If you grow old, then I’ll grow old with you.
“If you slumber here, then I will accompany you….” Xu Qing lowered her head and began to deliver the last bits of life force she had to Meng Hao through a kiss.
As the life force left her, she shivered, and her hair began to fall out. Everything started to go blurry. However, she gritted her teeth and once again prepared to give some more.
By this point, even all of the observing streams of will were shaken by what they saw. It was then that the stream of will that belonged to the roc suddenly emerged, transforming into a woman.
She stood there in front of Xu Qing, indescribably striking and matchlessly beautiful.
She was the embodiment of the roc. She came from the bones that existed in the coffin in the Milky Way Sea. She was… the goodness of the Resurrection Lily that had reached Immortal Ascension at dawn.
Back then, she had fallen in love with a man. From that moment on, she willingly sank into depravity. Because she faced pain and sorrow, she took her goodness and severed it away. Then she became the Dawn Immortal.
That goodness now appeared in front of Xu Qing, in the form of this woman.
“If you keep that up, your soul will scatter,” said the woman softly.
Despite her muddled consciousness, Xu Qing heard the woman’s words and looked up.
“If you keep it up, you will lose your life for all eternity….” The woman looked down at Xu Qing, and almost seemed to be looking down at herself. “From time immemorial, the League of Demon Sealers have been heartless. Is it really worth it to do what you’re doing?”
“I don’t know if it’s worth it or not,” murmured Xu Qing. “I only know that without him in my life, then I can only live a life of pain. In that case, why not die together? I don’t fear death. What I fear is the pain of being alone.”
The woman seemed to shiver, and she looked down thoughtfully at Xu Qing. Finally, she sighed softly. “You’ll regret it.”
Xu Qing smiled but didn’t say anything. She was confident in her heart.
“Don’t believe me, huh…?” said the woman. “I didn’t believe either. Well, in that case, I’ll help you to see. We will find out who is right, you, or me.” A strange light began to glow in the woman’s eyes.
“You have the vestiges of a discarnate soul on you,” continued the woman, “as well as the Daoist magic of the Black Sieve Sect. Within the Black Sieve Sect is a precious medicinal pill. It’s called the Soul Birth Pill. If you can get that pill, then he will have a chance to live.” With that, the woman waved her sleeve, causing an cold wind to spring up around Xu Qing. It picked her up and carried her far off into the distance, out of the Rebirth Cave and into the world of the living, all the way to the vicinity of the Black Sieve Sect.
When the wind faded away, Xu Qing stood there ashen-faced. Her consciousness was no longer muddled, and she looked like her old self. She turned her head to look back toward the Rebirth Cave, and began to breathe heavily. Then she turned and headed toward the Black Sieve Sect.
Back in the Rebirth Cave, the woman stood next to Meng Hao, looking at him.
“Is there really such a thing as rebirth…?
“I have been to every corner of this cave. I left no rock unturned. And I can tell you… there is no rebirth in this place.
“The only thing here is a Ninth Mountain and Sea lodestone. It fell here countless years ago, and enables souls around it to exist forever and cultivate Ghost Immortality.
“Rebirth, ah, rebirth…. It’s a beautiful dream, and nothing more. It’s merely a fiction, invented by people who aren’t willing to die.
“The rosy picture such stories paint gradually obscured the truth, from one generation to the next…….” The woman’s voice was strange and filled with bitterness, as well as exhaustion. As she lost herself in memories of the past, her body gradually faded away.
Meng Hao lay there in the silence. He had no more consciousness, and everything around him was still. It was so quiet that it seemed as if no voices had existed in the area since ancient times.
Without the support of Xu Qing’s life force, Meng Hao’s own life force was rapidly diminishing. After enough time passed for half an incense stick to burn… it had completely vanished.
Within him, Immortal Shows the Way also withered, and gradually lost any usefulness to him. When that happened, a tall man sitting cross-legged deep within the Rebirth Cave looked up and sighed.
“There really is no rebirth in this place,” he said. “There is only a Ninth Mountain and Sea lodestone….
“So, he is not the one who can help me…. Who have I been waiting for, then?”
“Where is the person I’ve been waiting for…?” This man was none other than Choumen Tai.
Note from Deathblade: This chapter and the past few chapters have made many, many references to past chapters. So many references, in fact, that I gave up on trying to make footnotes for them all.
This chapter was sponsored by Felix