The profound ark passed through many dark layers of space and returned to the Soul Stealing Realm. It was much faster than when it first came.
Qianye Ying’er was standing at the side of the ship, black wind whipping her golden hair into a beautiful frenzy. For some reason, the darkness in her eyes seemed a little different from before.
A black shadow appeared behind her without a sound. It was Chi Wuyao.
“Has he awakened?” Chi Wuyao walked up to Qianye Ying’er and asked.
“He has. Where were you?” Qianye Ying’er answered simply. It was almost as if she just noticed the former’s arrival.
“I went to clean up some tracks that shouldn’t be left behind,” Chi Wuyao replied before frowning a little. Qianye Ying’er’s unconscious question had made her recall that flash of an aura she couldn’t find again no matter how she tried.
It was almost the strangest thing she had ever encountered in the Northern Divine Region.
It was one thing if the stranger had had such an amazing concealment ability that she never noticed them in the first place.
But the stranger had let themselves slip. She should’ve been able to catch them immediately. Not even a concealment technique as powerful as Moon Splitting Cascade could make someone vanish so quickly and so thoroughly upon detection.
At the very least, she didn’t know anyone who could pull off such a thing.
“Is something bothering you?” Qianye Ying’er shot her a sideways glance.
“Of course.” Chi Wuyao gave her a smile. “I am the Northern Region Devil Queen, the monarch of the Soul Stealing Realm, and the caretaker of many, many children. I’m almost always bothered by something.”
Qianye Ying’er knew that she was dodging the question, but she didn’t dig deeper besides letting out a snort… her mind was somewhere else anyway.
Chi Wuyao looked at the gray sky above their heads and said, “The day will be over in another fifteen minutes.”
“I don’t want to see him right now,” Qianye Ying’er replied indifferently. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to think some things through.”
“Does that mean you’ve acknowledged what I told you earlier?” Chi Wuyao asked with a lazy smile on her face. “Still, there are some things in this world that are best left unthought about. It’ll only grow increasingly if you try. You should go about your life after you confirm that it exists, or not.”
“What should I do if ‘it’ does exist?” Qianye Ying’er unconsciously looked down at her feet. “For someone of my standing…”
She was actually deferring to Chi Wuyao for guidance.
She finally understood where her strange hostility toward Chi Wuyao had come from, and even now she still disliked the woman deeply. But… she seemed to be the only one who was qualified to give her an answer right now.
“You either remove it completely, or you obey what your heart tells you to do,” Chi Wuyao answered easily. “Either choice is better than ignorance, self-denial, and being stuck in limbo.”
“That being said, if only it was that easy to remove…” Chi Wuyao shook her head and didn’t continue further.
“Heh…” Qianye Ying’er snorted derisively at herself. “Once upon a time, I thought that all men in the world were low-born. I thought that none of them even had the right to enter my sight, much less touch a hair on my body. Who would’ve thought that I would fall this far… what a joke… what a joke…”
“Feel free to laugh at me if you wish, Chi Wuyao.”
“And why would I do that?” There was actually a bit of self-derision in Chi Wuyao’s voice. “If we’re talking about walking jokes, then I’m an even bigger joke than you are.”
Qianye Ying’er had been staring at nothing all this time, so she didn’t notice Chi Wuyao’s eyes or pay too much heed to her choice of words.
After all, Chi Wuyao was a woman who supposedly climbed her way to the top over the corpses of men by trampling on those feelings. She was perfectly within her rights to call herself a “joke”.
“I don’t understand. I hated him and found him disgusting. I planted the Brahma Soul Death-Wishing Mark in him that tortured him so much that he was on the verge of suicide, and he planted the slave imprint that destroyed my honor forever. The only thing we should ever have in common is a sea of hatred that could never be reconciled toward each other…”
“So how did this happen?”
“Is it really that difficult of a question for you?” Chi Wuyao asked. “Recall the moment your one wish was to see him dead, the moment you hated him more than anything in the world. Even then, you won’t deny that he’s the most special and mysterious man you’ve ever encountered in your life, am I right?”
“...” Qianye Ying’er didn’t deny it.
“There is nothing more dangerous in the world to a woman than a man’s secrets. From the moment you wish to know them, you are already one step away from crossing the point of no return. And… when you were still the Brahma Monarch Goddess, I doubt there was any other secret you wanted to know more than Yun Che’s.”
“...” Qianye Ying’er’s lips parted slightly. She was shocked to discover that those memories had taken on an entirely different shade before she realized it.
“He was the one that came to your mind when you were at the bottom of your despair. He was the one by your side at the most painful moment of your life. He was the only ray of light you had when there was only darkness around you, and he was the one who held your hand when you walked out of the abyss together.”
“Before you knew it, he began to occupy so much space in your heart that it exceeds even the hatred that you once thought to be everything in your life… perhaps you might even feel that your hatred doesn’t seem all that important anymore.”
“!!” Qianye Ying’er’s pupils trembled violently.
The moment the slave imprint was planted inside her and the days Yun Che called her “Slave Ying” should be a brand of humiliation she would never be able to wash away for the rest of her life.
But today, she realized that the sense of humiliation had actually faded somewhat.
Killing Qianye Fantian should’ve been the one obsession she still had in life after he betrayed her. It was certainly the one goal that brought her all the way to the Northern Divine Region. To that end, she could swear an oath to surrender everything, kneel before Yun Che and even beg him to plant the slave imprint inside her.
She still wanted revenge, but...
If it turned out to be a pipe dream, if the only future left for her was an eternity of solitude in the Northern Divine Region with Yun Che… she was shocked that she hadn’t rejected the thought immediately.
Shocked that she was actually looking forward to that future a bit.
“This... truly is the scariest thing in the world,” Qianye Ying’er muttered.
Once, Heavenly Wolf Xisu had risked literally everything for her. He even gave up his life as a result. At the time, the only thing she had to offer his devotion was scorn and ridicule.
Today… she understood him. She actually understood him for once.
“I know this all seems pretty unbelievable to you, but to me, this is a natural result. And let’s not forget that he claimed every inch of your body even before you had fallen for him.”
Chi Wuyao glanced at Qianye Ying’er before teasing her lightly. “The Brahma Monarch Goddess is beautiful beyond measure, and any man who caught you is sure to enjoy you day and night. I bet your body has molded itself to fit his shape perfectly, am I right? You’ll never escape him for as long as you live.”
“You… shut up.” Qianye Ying’er looked away.
Chi Wuyao stared at the side view of Qianye Ying’er’s face and felt the corner of her lips turn up a little. “If your old, heartless self could win the mindless infatuation of countless god children and princes even when you treated them like dirt, then I can only imagine how they would feel if they saw you right now.”
“Chi Wuyao,” Qianye Ying’er said suddenly. “You’ve experienced countless men in your life. You probably know men better than most, am I right?”
Chi Wuyao: “...”
“Anyway, I want to ask you something.”
That was what she said, but she was staring in the opposite direction of Chi Wuyao’s face, and she was mumbling unlike herself at all. “Do you think… do you think he…”
“You want to know if Yun Che has feelings for you?” Chi Wuyao said bluntly on her behalf.
Qianye Ying’er turned even further away and nodded almost imperceptibly.
“Of course not.” If Chi Wuyao was blunt earlier, then it was nothing compared to her answer.
“...” Qianye Ying’er closed her eyes for a moment before smiling derisively at herself. “I thought so.”
“The way he is right now, he would not feel such a thing for anyone. He wouldn’t dare,” Chi Wuyao explained. “Remember that he lost everything he ever loved in a single moment. He wouldn’t allow himself to be ‘distracted’ by anything until his revenge is fulfilled, and even then…”
“It’s impossible to tell if he will ever walk out of that nightmare...”
“...or if he even wants to.”
Chi Wuyao sighed quietly.
She was sure that Qianye Ying’er had noticed the death wish Yun Che hid behind his hatred.
Qianye Ying’er’s eyes grew distant. So distracted was she that she didn’t even notice that Chi Wuyao… knew Yun Che a little too well.
Qianye Ying’er started turning around and walking away. A heavy weight sat inside her mind.
“Aren’t you going to say ‘thank you’?” Chi Wuyao asked.
Qianye Ying’er paused for a second before answering in a cold tone, “I still despise you, you know.”
Chi Wuyao smiled and paid no mind to her insult at all. Instead, she said something that puzzled Qianye Ying’er. “Well, I personally would like to thank you for all you did.”
“??” Qianye Ying’er frowned, but she was distracted enough that she decided to keep walking and put her puzzlement to the back of her mind. She quickly vanished from Chi Wuyao’s sight.
She was heading to where Yun Che was.
Chi Wuyao lifted her chin and looked at the sky. Not even the black fog covering her face could block the dark and charming gleam in her eyes. She said to herself, “So long as the Eternal Heaven God Emperor hasn’t lost all reason, there’s a ninety nine percent chance he would not risk everything and attack the Northern Divine Region by force.”
“That being said, I should be ready for even the smallest possibilities.”
The lowest room of the darkness profound ark was exceptionally quiet.
Yun Che had curled into a ball and sat at the narrowest corner of the room. He was holding the three Glazed Sound Stones Yun Wuxin gave him and rubbing his finger over them again and again… it was his way of spending time with his daughter on her eighteenth birthday.
Wuxin, did you know that Su Zhizhan had asked for my permission to betroth his eighteen year old son, Su Hanlou, to you on grandpa’s seventieth birthday?
At the time, the only thought in my mind was to break his leg and throw him out of the house.
As your father, it isn’t my right to interfere with your life after you became an adult.
But the moment I thought that someone might take you away from me, I just couldn’t stop myself from the fear, the panic, the anger...
A long time ago, a fifteen year old girl just like you asked for my hand, and her father went absolutely ballistic. At the time, all I could think of was how unkingly he looked and how crazy he was acting.
That lasted until the day Su Zhizhan asked me that question, and I realized that even you would marry someone and leave me to lead your own life one day...
If that day were to pass by, I would… probably hide my sadness behind my smile just like her dad had.
But… but I…
I let even something that precious slip through my grasp, forever.
Wuxin, you are the best daughter in the world... you shouldn’t have had the misfortune of being born to the most useless and undeserving father in the world.
Right now, my biggest wish is to reach the other side of the world and make it up to you… even if I have to walk through a sea of swords and swim through a sea of blood to do it.
Wait for me… I won’t keep you waiting for too long.
Suddenly, the door was thrown open roughly. It was Qianye Ying’er.
Yun Che looked up from between his knees and tried to say something, but the carrier of the familiar scent suddenly grabbed him and pushed him to the ground.
Qianye Ying’er’s black clothes suddenly disappeared on their own to reveal the flawless skin beneath them.
“...” Yun Che froze for a second before he regained himself. “I don’t feel like cultivating today!”
“I don’t feel like it either.”
Qianye Ying’er’s mask fell off. An exquisite countenance that could outshine even the brightest light and color in the world revealed itself to him, and for the first time, he saw a misty look in her eyes that was so beautiful that it dazed even him. “I just suddenly feel like testing how it feels to be on top!”
Jie Xin and Jie Ling suddenly sensed something at the same time and glanced at one another.
“Master, there seems to be a strange noise somewhere,” Jie Xin said.
“It’s Yun Qianying’s voice,” Jie Ling added. “Is she hurt?”
“This voice is…” Hua Jin listened closely to the noise before an unnatural rosiness suddenly raced across her cheeks. “Wait… I think… I think it’s…”
Chi Wuyao turned around to face her three Witches and smiled. “Not everyone gets to hear the sweet, immortal moans of the Brahma Monarch Goddess herself, my dears, so pay attention. You may regret this for life if you miss even an instant of it.”
“...” Jie Xin, Jie Ling, and Hua Jin’s lips fell open. It took them a while before they finally regained themselves and escaped like the wind.
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