Chapter 54: Departure
Tears streamed down Yong Meilin’s eyes while she looked at the bustling road in front of her. This road was always busy with merchants, mercenaries and other adventurers, people who came and went. She had been standing there since morning with tears constantly falling from her eyes.
Many young men had tried to talk with her. Some had brought her tissues whereas others would try and make her look at them. Yet, no matter what anyone did, Yong Meilin ignored them all and kept looking at the road. She felt as if someone had shattered her heart and broke it into thousand of pieces. It seemed impossible for her to pick them up and put them together again.
It was now three months after the tournament’s end. Xu Min had spent an entire two weeks healing before his body was back at his peak performance. Afterwards, he spent another two and a half months training. He had long since made up his mind of leaving. The question now was finding the right time and planning where he wished to go.
‘If we are gonna leave, why haven’t we left already?’ Cao Cao repeatedly whined, but every time Xu Min just shook his head and replied, ‘we cannot leave just like this. There is a lot of things we need to prepare first. Or, are you saying that you don’t want to ensure we have enough food for the travel? You know I want to enter the Ruins of the Immortals, but I need to have some more information about this place.’ The snake hissed a little when he heard about the food, but he still didn’t believe Xu Min.
‘You just don’t want to leave Meilin!’ the snake said with a smirk on his scaly face. Xu Min, shaking his head, decided not to argue any further. Rather, he wentinto the city where he had collected all the information possible about the Ruins of the Immortals.
The Ruins were a massive part of the neighbouring kingdom. It was a whole province where one could find both forests and plains. Scattered around the entire province were old cities that laid in ruins. All of them had been in their prime many years before, and they had all housed immortals. One could visit these sites and gain enlightenment in front of their ancient intricate inscriptions. Some of the ruins still controlled the elements and one could gain enlightenment in how to become one with the world.
Other ruins were inhabited by old magical beasts. Their strength were similar or stronger than Cao Cao’s father. These ruins had gained the reputation of forbidden cities. No one dared entering them as they knew it would be impossible for them to return.
Even now, millenias ago, after the immortals had left the province, new cities would sometimes surface. These cities had previously been placed within pocket dimensions that were scattered around the Ruins of the Immortals. After countless of years these pocket dimensions had broken down and the cities were sent back to the world from which they originated. These cities were often the target of treasure hunts.
Xu Min had acquired all the information he was able to get. He had even used the Yong family’s reputation and the power it offered to obtain maps. These maps were filled with dots, showing where they should go and should not go.
It had taken Xu Min three months to feel as though he was ready to leave the city, and even so, he was shocked to find himself still hesitating. In these three months, Yong Meilin had only left his side during the night. Every other moment during the day, morning and evening, were spent together with the young man. Xu Min easily felt the worry and dread growing in her heart.
Just as he was about to leave, Xu Min looked around the courtyard and the house which he had been living in all these months.He sighed deeply. He had the option of beginning a new lifeHe could stay with the Yong family. He could live an easy and happy life together with Yong Meilin. However, every time he thought about this happy life a face appeared in front of his eyes. It was the face of his beloved sister smiling at him, only to be engulfed in flames.
Even though he did have this opportunity, he understood deep down that it was not a possibility for him. He would never be free to enjoy life before he had gotten revenge. He was forced down the road of revenge, forced to walk a desolate road where he alone could pressure himself time and time again. This understanding made it possible for him to reach the limits of his talent. When he reached high enough rank, he would return to the small valley within the forest and mountains. This small village where the Zhong family lived their daily lives. He would return and make them regret what they had done to his sister.
Just as Xu Mi made his decision of leaving, he looked at Yong Meilin by his side. Impulsively acting, he moved towards her, swept her up into his embrace, and gave her a long hug before he slowly pulled her backwards and placed a soft and gentle kiss on the her lips.
Yong Meilin had become stiff as a wooden plank at first but soon tears started falling from her eyes as she gripped onto the Xu Min’s robe. She buried her face in his shoulder and cried her heart out.
“Wait for me,” Xu Min said gently as he stroked her hair, “I have something I need to do. Something that makes it impossible for me to enjoy life, but as soon as I am done I will come back to you, I promise.” His words were low, no one could hear them apart from Yong Meilin, but the words soothed her broken heart, and she slowly stopped crying. Wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her dress, she looked at Xu Min with pride in her eyes as she nodded her head.
“No matter how long I have to wait, I will always be Xu Min’s woman– the most talented youth within Ri Chu City.” she whispered back. Her voice still slightly trembled, but her eyes were filled with a fire that no one could extinguish. “When you can, return to find me. I will always be waiting for you here.” She promised herself to Xu Min. Looking at her, Xu Min smiled,and he once more dragged her into his embrace.
Xu Min had buried his feelings ever since his sister had died. Although he had lived with Overseer Wang, he had never allowed himself to become emotionally attached. Overseer Wang was his teacher, but neither were gentle and caring towards one another. They just shared their days with each other. Yet, even now, Xu Min felt gratitude towards Overseer Wang. Especially because this man had given him a treasure such as his devouring sword. Nonetheless, Overseer Wang and Xu Min did not share any emotional ties.
When Xu Min had reached Ri Chu City, he had been as emotionally dead as before. Although he had warmed up to Cao Cao, he still did not trust any humans yet., However, Yong Meilin had forced her way into Xu Min’s life. She had never expected anything from him. All she wanted was to be close to him, and soon she had entered his heart. In the beginning Xu Min had refused to acknowledge this, he knew deep down that one of the reasons that he had a hard time leaving Ri Chu City was because of her.
Sighing deeply, Xu Min took Yong Meilin’s hand. Hand in hand, the two of them had left the Yong family compound moving towards one of the city’s gates. Many experts, including the patriarch, all stopped what they had been doing. A group of high ranked experts all followed Xu Min through the city. All of them felt unhappy thatXu Min was leaving. Nevertheless, all of them assumed it would happen sooner or later.
It was not only the Yong family who followed behind Xu Min, everyone who was of a major power in the city as well, came to bid him farewell. Everyone apart from the Tang family who still hated Xu Min more than death itself.
Reaching the gate, Xu Min stopped for some time and looked at Yong Meilin. A sad smile was on his lips as he gently stroked her hair. Such an obvious gesture of love was enough to make many of the experts present sigh with jealousy, but no one said anything. All of their hearts clenched when they saw the most beautiful woman in the city having tears stream down her cheeks.
If anyone had ever doubted the rumor about a relationship between these two youngsters, no one questioned it any more.
“I’ll wait until I die, so you better come back as soon as you can,” Yong Meilin said. Her voice was not lowered.She intentionally said it loud, so everyone could hear her declaration. She, who had been the ice queen, had her heart stolen by this unknown youngster. She felt pride in being able to call herself his woman and she knew that in her entire life no other man would ever have her heart.
“I will return,” Xu Min promised with a smile on his face before he nodded to all the patriarchs present. He then turned his back and slowly walked out the city gate. He followed the road in front of him– the road which led him towards the Ruins of the Immortals.
Standing back in the city one patriarch left after another, leaving only Yong Meilin behind. Her tears did not stop, and her hands clutched together in front of her heart. Following Xu Min’s back into the distance, she continued to look out even after he had vanished into the horizon. The entire day she stood there, looking towards Xu Min’s direction before she finally wiped her eyes once more and left to go back home.
As soon as she returned home, she collapsed on her bed and fell asleep. She slept long and deep and when she woke up her eyes were filled with determination. Her back straight and her head held high. She went towards her grandfather’s room and knocked on the door with her hand.
“Enter,” the grandfather’s voice sounded out through the door.Yong Meilin entered the room. Her entire demeanor had changed. “Grandfather, I wish to take over the spot of the next patriarch of the Yong family here within the Ri Chu City,” she said with a hidden power in her voice.
“I might not be the highest ranked expert, but I am the best salesman. I have the best connections and I am willing to do what has to be done for the Yong family to flourish.”
“Does this have something to do with the youngster Xu Min?” the patriarch asked curiously. Yong Meilin nodded her head, “He will go and fight the world. He will become strong, and while he fights, I need to improve so that when he returns I will be able to be his pillar of support.” She was completely honest and didn’t hid anything from her grandfather.
Sighing the old man started rubbing his forehead as he considered what to say. “I see,” he finally said after a long time, “Well, if you prove that you can keep the rank as the best salesman within our company and if you truly manage to get us some good business than I do not mind granting you the rank of the next Patriarch,” the Grandfather said with a smile on his face. “Work hard, you will need to be very outstanding if you want to stand by his side. He is talented enough to become an immortal.”