Blue Pole Star, Profound Sky Continent, Divine Phoenix Empire.
The unapproachable Divine Phoenix Forbidden Ground, today a vast crimson barrier had been established for a certain purpose.
Rolling inside the barrier was a flame hot enough to burn the entire Divine Phoenix Empire to ash. Even with the barrier, the phoenix flames still dyed the sky crimson.
A pair of phoenix flames intertwined with one another before turning into a massive explosion. A resonant phoenix cry cut through the air, and a scorching ray split the sea of flames in half. After the ray of flames came to a stop, it extinguished itself to reveal the slender figure of a young woman.
A short distance away from her, the sea of flames also subsided to reveal a woman of dreamlike beauty. As the fabric of her clothes slowly fell to the pull of gravity, and the last of the crimson flames vanished from her hand, a faint smile that could enchant the entire world crossed her lips. “Very good. You’ve improved tremendously in the World Ode of the Phoenix since your mental state changed half a year ago. Soon, there won’t be anything left I can teach you.”
However, a scorching wind rose right after she finished her sentence. Yun Wuxin was nearly out of profound energy, but she stubbornly kept her phoenix flames burning and said, “I can… still continue, Master.”
Feng Xue’er withdrew her smile a bit and asked slowly, “You’ve been working really hard as of late. Are you planning to search for your father in the God Realm again?”
“No!” Yun Wuxin clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. “I just… want to be able to hit him harder… when he finally comes back!”
Feng Xue’er shook her head and walked up to Yun Wuxin with a half-smile on her face. “Wuxin, forget beating him, you won’t even know what to say when you finally meet him. Anyway, it’s one thing to push yourself and another to go overboard, especially since you’re the one who decided to wait until he comes home yourself. Also, the day after tomorrow is your twentieth birthday. You will sadden a lot of people if they see you injured.”
“Hmph!” Yun Wuxin looked down and bit her lip. “It’s not like he will be there… or be saddened by it.”
Feng Xue’er: “...”
“Master,” Yun Wuxin suddenly looked up and asked in a small voice, “It’s been five years since he went away. Do you really… not resent him?”
The reply was unhesitant and immediate. It was laced with deep worry, but she truly couldn’t sense even a tinge of resentment in them.
“Not even a little?” Yun Wuxin whispered.
“Not even a little.”
Feng Xue’er replied in a calm and gentle voice, “There are many things I’m unsure about, but not this one. He can be gone for five years, a hundred years or even a thousand years… but I know, that it is because he has no other choice, not because he has given up on us.”
Surprise took Yun Wuxin for a second before she muttered, “You’re just the same as mom… you’re both so… foolish when it comes to father.”
Feng Xue’er shook her head smilingly. “A long time ago, your father stranded himself in the Primordial Profound Ark for my sake. As for your mother, death trailed her and your father’s footsteps during the few months they spent together in the Dragon God’s Trial. Even so, the notion of abandoning your mother never crossed his mind.”
“There is no love or hate in this world that is without reason. You say that we’re foolish, but if you had known your father as well as your mom and I, you would know that he, in many cases, is the most foolish man in the entire world… it is why so many of us are willing to devote our hearts to him forever.”
“...” Suddenly, Feng Xue’er turned completely silent. Then, her eyes started fogging at an unbelievable rate.
“Master?” Yun Wuxin looked up in surprise when her master’s aura suddenly grew a bit out of control. “Are… are you thinking about him again?”
Feng Xue’er unconsciously reached out and grabbed Yun Wuxin’s wrist tightly. She looked as if she was trying to confirm that she wasn’t dreaming.
“Wuxin, I think… your twentieth birthday gift… will be the best gift in your life.”
“I’ll treasure your gift no matter what it is, Mas—”
She heard something. A loose strand of aura caused Feng Xue’er’s crimson belt to brush lightly against her cheeks.
She whipped around. She moved so fast that her mind was almost slower than the body.
A new person had appeared within the phoenix barrier that was supposed to isolate everything.
His white clothes and black hair looked the same as ever. His brows looked like sharpened swords, but his eyes looked warm enough to melt one’s heart. Hanging on his lips was the faint smile he always wore when he was facing her.
Everything was exactly the same as she remembered. For a second, it felt as if they had just separated yesterday.
He could feel Blue Pole Star firmly beneath his feet. He could see Feng Xue’er and Yun Wuxin just a couple of meters away from him. He had imagined this moment in his mind over and over, and yet he still nearly lost control of himself when the moment finally arrived.
Slowly, he stretched out his arms and whispered, “Xue’er, Wuxin… I’m home.”
“...” Yun Wuxin didn’t react to his words. She looked frozen to the point where it looked as if someone had turned her to stone.
Feng Xue’er took a step toward him before stopping. Then, she pressed a hand on Wuxin’s trembling shoulders and gave her a gentle push.
A warm breeze blew, and her father’s arms were wrapped around her before she realized it.
Yun Che pulled her closer and held her as tightly as he dared… in that moment, it felt as if the world itself was granting him its warmth.
All the pain and suffering he had gone through for the past five years dissolved into powerless smoke that would never, ever pierce his soul again.
A breath passed… another breath passed… suddenly, Yun Wuxin began struggling mightily and thumping his chest with all she had. A strangled sob escaped her throat from time to time.
Yun Che continued to hug her gently but unyieldingly. He refused to let her go no matter how much she struggled.
Her struggles grew weaker and weaker until finally, her arms were wrapped around his waist, and her face was buried in his chest. Then, her strangled sobs turned into full blown cries.
Her last bit of resistance left her completely. She clung to her father and cried to release all the emotions she had smothered until now.
Five years of worry, concern, fear and resentment… everything had transformed into translucent tears that drenched Yun Che’s chest in no time.
Yun Wuxin had long since outgrown the young, childish girl she had been a long time ago. She was the only daughter of Yun Che and a divine way cultivator. She was unquestionably one of the most important women on the Blue Pole Star, and she was looked up to and revered by all.
Before her family, she was a sweet-tempered and elegant woman. Before the masses, she was as cool and lofty as her own mother. Even from a great distance, the people were afraid that their gazes would somehow sully her pure image.
And finally, before her father, she cried as if she had transformed back into the child she once was.
Feng Xue’er watched his face with single-minded affection as she walked up to him. Then, she noticed his eyes.
At first glance, it seemed like he hadn’t changed at all.
Once upon a time, his eyes were as infinite and mysterious as the stars. It was what had drawn her to him and chained her heart to his forever. But now, his black pupils looked the same as ever, but the stars had faded away into pitch black darkness. It looked like a black hole that would suck in all the souls in the world with a single thought.
Her heart clenched painfully for a second. She couldn’t imagine what he had gone through to change him so much in just five years.
Before she knew it, a warm hand had wrapped around her delicate wrist tightly. Their gazes met, and she saw both tenderness and deep regret in his eyes. “Xue’er, I… made you all worry… again.”
Feng Xue’er shook her head gently before smiling at him. “You are back, and that is all that matters. Grandpa… dad… mom… everyone… is doing very well.”
“Mn…” Yun Che squeezed out the word before he had to silence himself to keep the tremors in his voice from showing. Then, he touched Wuxin’s cheek with one hand and watched her tear-filled face, whispering, “My Wuxin… is all grown up.”
Each year, a girl underwent a wonderful transformation until they grew to full maturity. It was one of the most beautiful miracles nature had granted to this world.
But he… had missed seventeen of those twenty years.
They were years he would never, ever get back.
Yun Wuxin’s face was a complete mess at this point. The crying was such that she felt physically exhausted when she finally got it somewhat under control. She had definitely felt resentful and angry before this, and she had definitely resolved herself to beat him up with the greatest power she could muster when she met him, but when she actually came face to face with her father for real, when her father held her as if he would never let her go again, she felt as if she could do nothing else except cry and rejoice.
“Will… you… leave… again…”
Even the question she barely squeezed out of her lips was far, far more fearful than it was angry.
Yun Che shook his head slowly but determinedly. “No. Never again. I promise…”
“Uu… sob…” Yun Wuxin tried her utmost to hold back her tears. “You… always broke… your promises…”
“...” Yun Che felt a stab in his heart as he looked into his daughter’s eyes. His lips shivered a bit before he whispered, “Please believe me one more time… okay? This time… there is nothing in the world that can separate us anymore.”
Meanwhile, two women were standing high above the sky and watching this scene.
“We probably shouldn’t have followed him,” Chi Wuyao said with a small smile on her face. “Or rather, we should’ve waited until Wuxin’s birthday before visiting the Blue Pole Star. I feel like our presence is tainting this reunion somehow.”
She then let out a sigh before continuing, “To think that little girl would’ve grown up so much.”
Unusually, Qianye Ying’er didn’t say anything.
Chi Wuyao side-eyed her before asking, “You’re not actually touched by this reunion, are you?”
“...” Qianye Ying’er’s eyebrows moved in a way that suggested that she had only just come back to herself. She then replied in a cold voice, “Some people view their daughters like treasures, and some toss them aside as thoughtlessly as sandals. Human nature truly is a curious thing.”
“I spent my whole life trying to become someone like Qianye Fantian, and yet all I want to do now is to stick by Yun Che’s side as much as I can.” Qianye Ying’er let out a self-derisive snort. “I bet the world and even you think that I’m one of the weirdest women you’ve ever seen.”
However, Chi Wuyao shook her head and said, “You are wrong. Even if you had never met Yun Che, you would never have become another Qianye Fantian.”
Qianye Ying’er: “...”
Chi Wuyao explained slowly, “Qianye Fantian killed your mother because you loved your mother so much that you were able to rise to become the unparalleled Brahma Monarch Goddess in less than a thousand years. In the same vein, you were willing to accept a slave imprint from Yun Che just to obtain Qianye Fantian’s acknowledgement and save his life.”
“You are cruel and cold-hearted toward people you don’t care about, but you cherish those you do care for as deeply as Yun Che himself.”
“Rivers and mountains may change, but not one's essential nature. A person’s personality or philosophy may change drastically due to a certain event, but their true nature may not change even with the long passage of time. Even if nothing had happened at all, you would never have become a true villain like Qianye Fantian.”
“Take Yun Che for example. His journey is easily the harshest anyone has ever seen, and yet his true nature has never truly changed.”
Chi Wuyao’s smile suddenly froze for a second.
It was because she recalled a woman whom she couldn’t understand or forget even to this day.
Why had she changed so drastically…?
“Save your preaching for yourself!” Qianye Ying’er retorted.
“...” Chi Wuyao would’ve said something, but the memory of Xia Qingyue had fouled the mood somewhat.
“I have a question,” Qianye Ying’er said suddenly.
“Hmm?” Chi Wuyao turned her head a little.
“What… what do you think would’ve happened between us if my child had…”
She didn’t realize it, but her voice had grown distant, and her eyes a tad misty when she said this.
Chi Wuyao smiled a little before replying, “Go make a new baby if you want to know the answer. What happened back then was a tragedy, but at least you have an infinite amount of time to make up for it now. Let the past stay in the past.”
Chi Wuyao looked down at the weeping Wuxin again. It was impossible not to think about that “Xi’er” who had never even met their father. She exhaled slowly.
She could only hope that this would stay between Mu Xuanyin and her for eternity.
“Hmph! I’m not that pretentious,” snorted Qianye Ying’er when suddenly, she sensed Chi Wuyao leaving for somewhere. She asked with a frown, “Where are you going?”
“This is a small lower realm planet, but not only was it created together by the Heretic God and the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor, but an unnatural number of True God Ruins are present in this world. They are the reason Yun Che became who he did.”
“Now that I’m here, how can I not witness every corner of this planet with my own eyes?”
The voice faded, and Chi Wuyao was gone from her sight.
However, Qianye Ying’er stayed behind and resumed watching Yun Che from afar. She neither showed herself nor left his side.Previous Chapter Next Chapter