Xue Wei looked at Hei Gou for some time, completely stunned by his words before he started laughing out loud. It was as if a knot in his chest had loosened itself. The world, which had seemed colorless since his escape and Tie Haolong's death, suddenly seemed vibrant once more.
"You will follow me, right?" Xue Wei asked once more to be completely certain, to which Hei Gou nodded his head. His playful eyes turned solemn, and his lips, which had been curled into a smile all along, straightened out.
“We might not even make it out of this forest alive. When I first saw you, I felt as if death had come for me. But instead of death, it was new hope. It was someone willing to put himself at risk for my sake. I have never before experienced anyone showing me kindness before, and thus I am actually rather unsure of how to repay you.”
Hei Gou was slightly flustered, smiling with embarrassment. “Since my life is pretty much forfeit already, why don’t I just put it in your hands? I have done some things that the Primordial Beasts are unhappy with, and I am being chased. The humans will want to kill me too. In this dark world, I never expected to meet a kindred spirit who would give me a ray of hope in surviving for just a little longer.”
“I own nothing, and I have no way of repaying you other than giving myself to you.” Hei Gou looked at Xue Wei, who once more felt goosebumps all over his body when he heard the words. The black dog snickered in amusement.
“Don’t worry, I might be as handsome as a god but I am not into men either!”
Hearing this, Xue Wei felt a bit better, but he also understood Hei Gou’s emotions.
Hei Gou had mentioned that he was being chased. He was desperate. He was alone against the world, against the beasts and the humans. Was this not the exact same situation that Xue Wei was currently facing?
Thinking like this, Xue Wei felt much better. He had found someone who was in the same position as himself. Someone as desperate to live, and to find a place where he belonged as himself.
“I will follow you around to repay the kindness you showed me,” Hei Gou said solemnly. His eyes were glistening. At the same time, Xue Wei also saw a pitiful expression in the black dog’s eyes. An expression of fear. Fear of being abandoned once more.
Xue Wei could see the determination within those solemn black eyes of Hei Gou, and he did not question the dog further and nodded his head.
"In return, I will promise to treat you like my brother. You are my martial brother, my friend. We will tour the world together. We will reach the apex! There is nothing that can stop us as long as we have each other's back, and there is no one who will not tremble when hearing our names."
"We will save who we wish to save, kill who we wish to kill, and condemn any who stands in our way."
Xue Wei was also very serious as he swore this. Hei Gou felt a shiver run down his spine. He could already imagine how terrifying they would become - they would be the true terror of the entire world. A duo that no one would dare to provoke.
"Following a man like you is not so bad. Not bad at all!" Hei Gou said in high praise. "We will condemn all that stands in our way, huh?"
"Yes," Xue Wei's eyes were blazing with a determination that the black dog had never seen before. "We will condemn beasts and humans alike. We will condemn fate and karma. We will even condemn the heavens, should they wish to strike us down! Nothing can get in our way of reaching the apex!"
"Right you are!"
"Let us become blood brothers!" Xue Wei suddenly said. "That way, we will forever be loyal to one another."
"Sure!" Hei Gou agreed easily and cut his arm so that fresh blood started spraying from the wound he had made.
Xue Wei was not late in returning the gesture, and soon a cut similar in size appeared on his arm. The two, man and dog, pressed their arms against one another, and their blood started mixing.
It made them feel invigorated. They felt their bodies boiling with the urge to prove their worth, and all the wounds on Hei Gou's body started to heal at a rate visible to the naked eye.
Both Xue Wei and Hei Gou stared at the wounds. Hei Gou could feel how his snow-pale skin started to turn red as if he was flustered, and then the wounds started closing.
"What's happening?" Xue Wei asked in alarm as Hei Gou's face turned beet red. He was gasping for air; his eyes turned from black to red; and his entire body started trembling.
Energy ripples started emanating out from within his body, as if he had so much energy that he could not contain it.
The snow around him melted, the barren land sprouted green grass underneath him, and everything happened within moments of the two pressing their arms together and sharing their blood to become proper blood brothers.
By now, the two had moved far away from the original location where Hei Gou had been wounded. Few people frequented this area, so they were relatively safe from others interrupting them. Xue Wei's brows were furrowed as he watched Hei Gou. His eyes were narrowed and he did all in his power to assist Hei Gou.
He placed him on the ground, made sure that he was laying on his back, and then touched Hei Gou’s forehead, only to feel a burning sensation as if he had touched hot charcoal.
"Can you hear me?" Xue Wei asked anxiously, but there was no reply. Hei Gou was panting heavily. He had closed his eyes, and by now all wounds on his body had vanished.
Still, the ripples of energy that were expanding from within his body were getting increasingly strong.
Xue Wei was at a loss for what to do. He found a stream close by and placed cold towels on Hei Gou’s forehead to lessen the heat at least a tiny bit.
Like this two days passed by. In these two days, neither humans nor beasts arrived in the small location where Xue Wei and Hei Gou were located.
Xue Wei continued to wipe down Hei Gou's body so that all the sweat did not make him sick, and he also checked his condition from time to time.
The first day, the ripples of energy continued to increase until they peaked at the first night, and since then they had diminished until now where they were gone.
Still, Hei Gou had not awakened. His eyes had not opened, and his breathing was still rapid.
As the second night came to an end, Hei Gou's eyes finally fluttered open. The already handsome guy was even more handsome than he had been before.
It was as if he had shed his old body and gotten a new one created from pure jade. He was picturesque and reminded Xue Wei of a statue of some god of beauty.
Xue Wei was stumped for words when he saw Hei Gou wake up. He said nothing. Instead, he just smiled and felt relieved.
"What on earth are you?" Although Xue Wei was quiet, Hei Gou was not.
"You are definitely not human, some sort of mutation has happened to me! My bloodline, although noble and being a Celestial Dog, has improved in purity! I am not far from a dragon right now when it comes to the purity of my blood! In fact, I think my beast shape has changed slightly too!"
"Purity? What are you talking about?" Xue Wei asked curiously. He had never spoken with a Primordial Beast before, so he did not know how exactly the beasts determined their ranks.
"Beasts are split into various groups, but what determines what group a beast belongs to is actually the purity of their blood."
"When the world was created, the beasts and humans were created with it. The humans were mortals but were taught the miracle of cultivation. But although this was the case, the beasts reigned supreme because of one thing that made them superior."
"Back then, Mortal Beasts, Fierce Beasts and Primordial Beasts were not the only kinds of beasts. Back then, there were also Sovereign Beasts."
"Sovereign Beasts are the ones with the purest blood. Their blood is sacred to any other beast. I am not sure why, but there was a great mystery behind the blood of the Sovereign Beasts. Unfortunately, all of them perished long ago, so they have become myths by now."
"The Sovereign Beasts were, according to legends, donating their blood to the other beasts, to help them gain enlightenment."
"I am not exactly sure what this enlightenment is, but it was a sacred ritual. The blood of the Sovereign Beasts would be infused into our ancestors, and this is what had determined the purity of the descendants."
"Many families decided to make arranged marriages with the ones of the highest purity of blood to safeguard their legacies."
"My family, although mainly consisting of Celestial Dogs, has multiple branches within it, like the families of most other beasts."
"I am from a very mediocre group of Celestial Dogs; the blood purity of my family is rather low, and my prospects are also limited."
"Even if I died, no one in my family would care, not even my parents would bat an eyelid at the fact that I would perish."
"Since this is the case, why not screw those who do not care for me and follow the only person who ever showed me consideration? Who cares if I am going to follow a human? That is better than being alone for the rest of my life."
Xue Wei listened to Hei Gou's speech and his eyes bulged slightly.
"Wait, wait, wait," he said as he raised an arm and looked at Hei Gou. "I have never before heard about Sovereign Beasts. What are they?"
"I do not know much, but I know a few rumors and legends. Let me tell you about them. They are the supreme sovereigns of this world. They are four races, the Azure Dragon, the Vermilion Bird, the Black Tortoise, and the White Tiger. These four races of beasts all safeguarded an area of the world. One in the north, one in the south; one in the east and one in the west."
"These four races were towering above any other, and they were the main reason why the beasts reached their peak of strength."
"What happened to them? No one knows. Some rumors say that they transcended mortality and rose to the heavens, others claim that they went extinct because too many beasts tried to absorb their blood, and yet some are certain that they are still alive this day today, living in hiding somewhere in the midst of the vast world's most dangerous regions."
"I think that the higher-ups of the Primordial Beast rankings are aware of what happened to them, but someone as lowly as myself will never be told," Hei Gou sighed.
"When I was a small pup, my mother would tell tales about the Sovereign Beasts and our time of glory, back when humans were livestock and slaves."
"I listened intently, not because I felt superior, and felt that humans were supposed to be our slaves, but because the Sovereign Beasts seemed like the most sacred creature I had ever heard of."
Hei Gou's handsome face twisted slightly into melancholy as he was reminded of his childhood.
"Truth be told, I ran away from home," he sighed after a bit of time. "I was nothing more than a chess piece to my parents. Much like how human youths are sent to the battlefield to fight against Primordial Beast and the beast hordes, the Primordial Beasts are similarly sent to the battlefield to fight against humans."
"I was tasked to go hunt down a Primordial Beast Hunter of the Heavenly Warrior rank. I, someone with the strength equivalent to, at most, a Sky Warrior, was sent to my death."
"The moment I got the order, I ran away. I was never chased. I think they did not care since a Primordial Beast with my strength will never survive for long alone."
Xue Wei said nothing; he just looked up into the crowns of the trees above them. Hei Gou also remained quiet as he reminisced about his past.
"My uncle is Xiao Lei," Xue Wei finally said after a long time. "He is a famous Primordial Beast Hunter."
"I have no parents, nor memories of my early life. All I know is that when I was around ten years old, my father died due to an attack by a Primordial Beast. Before that, my mother had already died."
"This is what my uncle told me. Although this is the case, I never felt sad or felt like I was lacking anything. I was loved dearly, but now I start to fear: what will I do if one day I stand face to face with my uncle again, and what will I do if he is going to hunt me down like all the other Primordial Beast Hunters? Can I really fight him?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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