Chapter 123: Snake Pact

Lin Qingchen met Whitey’s gaze. She couldn’t help thinking back to how she had arduously brought the five snake eggs back from the imperial territory, how she had spent day and night taking care of them, and how Whitey had finally hatched from the fifth egg after four unsuccessful attempts.

Lin Qingchen could clearly remember Whitey poking its little head out of its shell, looking as cute and innocent as could be.

She’d carefully held its body, merely a few inches long, in her palms. Whitey’s limpid, lustrous eyes stared at her as soon as it had hatched, as if it were trying to imprint her figure in its mind.

“Cousin Moxiao, stop!” Lin Qingchen couldn’t help shouting out, before trying to break free from Yun Ruoyan’s grip.

“Qingchen…” Yun Ruoyan could clearly see Lin Qingchen’s conflicted expression. “Don’t you remember how ferocious those snakes were back in the imperial territory? You’re not a beastmaster, and you won’t ever be a summoner. Only summoners can control such high-ranking magical beasts as they mature.”

On the Chenyuan continent, summoners were existences only below pillmasters in status. However, becoming a summoner first required being a seventh-rank beastmaster. Beastmasters were only able to control the beasts with which they’d contracted, but top-tier summoners could summon tens of thousands of beasts to fight for them.

Of course, summoners of such ability were spoken of only in legends. Yun Moxiao’s master was only a novice summoner, and he was able to summon at most a dozen low-tier magical beasts at one go. Nevertheless, he was still an impressive presence on the battlefield.

“Sister Ruoyan, make Cousin Moxiao stop!” Lin Qingchen was unfazed by Yun Ruoyan’s words. Despite her usual calmness, she seemed unusually agitated at this moment. “Whitey won’t surrender to him, even if it’s about to die!”

Yun Moxiao was beginning to incant a second formation.

“Sister Ruoyan, have you forgotten that I have this demonic ring?” Lin Qingchen hurriedly shook the ring on her hand at her. “Even if I can’t establish a contract with Whitey, I can still control it with this snake ring! It won’t harm me, I assure you!”

Yun Ruoyan had seen the ring the last time she visited the Lins, and she’d even tested out its effects for herself. After returning home, she’d specially asked Qiuqiu about the demonic realm, but it didn’t seem to want to reveal too much information to her.

However, Qiuqiu did warn her that demonic artifacts were rather dangerous to use. If the user were too weak and used the artifact too frequently, that user could easily become controlled by the previous owner of the artifact.

“Qingchen, that reminds me—it’s fine if you keep wearing this ring, but you definitely can’t overuse it. If your cultivation’s not high enough, there’s a chance you’ll be possessed by the previous owner of the ring!”

While Yun Ruoyan tried to persuade Lin Qingchen, Yun Moxiao finished his second formation and was just about to direct it at Whitey. Seeing his arm move, Lin Qingchen forcefully broke out of Yun Ruoyan’s grasp and ran toward Whitey.

“Qingchen!” Yun Ruoyan called out in shock and dismay as she saw Lin Qingchen run between Whitey and Yun Moxiao.

Yun Moxiao was trying to direct the formation toward Whitey, but when Lin Qingchen suddenly ran over, Yun Moxiao was so shocked that he lost control over the formation. As a result, it struck Lin Qingchen squarely.

Lin Qingchen threw up an arm to shield herself, and the formation imprinted on her left arm. In a flash, a hole had been scorched through her white blouse, and a searing pain radiated from her flesh. Cold sweat drenched Lin Qingchen’s body as she bent down and curled up in agony. Instead of screaming, however, she gritted out, “Cousin, stop.”

Yun Moxiao hadn’t expected that Lin Qingchen would suddenly interrupt him. When he finally got over his shock, he shouted, “Qingchen, what are you doing?!”

“Cousin, don’t hurt Whitey. It won’t submit to you.”

“Do you know how reckless running into the middle of a beast taming can be?!” Although Yun Moxiao was angry that Lin Qingchen had interrupted him, he was even angrier that Lin Qingchen had put herself in danger.

The process of taming was a fight between man and beast, and either party could release a life-threatening blow at any moment. Lin Qingchen’s reckless behavior might easily have endangered her life.

“Cousin, stop hurting Whitey!”

Yun Moxiao hesitated, only now seeing Lin Qingchen’s reluctance to part with Whitey. “Forget it, I don’t want this dull snake.”

Lin Qingchen finally relaxed, releasing a long breath before turning to inspect Whitey’s injuries.

“Whitey, it must hurt, doesn’t it?” Lin Qingchen stroked Whitey’s body while trying to avoid its bleeding wounds. The bloody formation imprinted on its forehead had gone dim after Yun Moxiao had removed his spiritual energy, but the wound left by the formation continued to bleed. 

Lin Qingchen’s face had gone white as she tightly squeezed her left arm with one hand, but she still continued to stroke Whitey’s body. A trail of blood slid down her arm and seeped into the imprint on Whitey’s forehead.

In a split second, Whitey’s eyes turned even brighter, and the imprint on its forehead once again began to glow red.

“Brother, what’s going on?!” When Yun Ruoyan saw the sudden transformation, she immediately alerted Yun Moxiao.

Yun Moxiao turned around and gasped in shock. “It’s a blood pact, that snake’s about to form a blood pact with Qingchen!”

Yun Ruoyan’s pact with Qiuqiu was also a blood pact, but it had been formed without Yun Ruoyan’s knowledge. When her blood unintentionally landed on the silver bracelet, Qiuqiu had initiated a contract with her.

Yun Ruoyan and Yun Moxiao walked forward as they stared at Lin Qingchen and Whitey. The formation on Whitey’s forehead began to change, and although Yun Ruoyan had no idea what the formation signified, she could clearly see that it had grown even more profound.

Slowly, the formation dimmed and Whitey’s wounds began to heal. It finally closed its eyes and fell into a deep slumber.

“Whitey, Whitey!” Lin Qingchen anxiously shook Whitey’s bulbous head.

“Don’t worry, it’s alright,” Yun Moxiao spoke up. “The wounds on its body are all superficial and won’t have any permanent effect on the snake. Even the formation I’d imprinted on its forehead was co-opted into its pact with you, so don’t worry.”

Lin Qingchen turned to Yun Moxiao and nodded.

Yun Moxiao continued, “Cousin Qingchen, congratulations on forming a pact with a magical beast. For someone without talent in beast taming, that’s an incredibly fortunate event.”

Because Lin Qingchen looked like she didn’t understand her cousin’s words, Yun Ruoyan explained to her that Whitey had formed a blood pact with her.

While Lin Qingchen had heard about such pacts, she had clearly never experienced one herself. As a result, what she first felt was confusion rather than excitement.

“Why don’t I feel anything unusual?” As far as she understood, forming a pact with a magical beast would lead to some sort of resonance, but she didn’t feel a single thing.

“That’s certainly true for a pact between a beastmaster and a contracted beast,” Yun Moxiao replied, “but I can’t be sure how things change if you’re not a beastmaster.”

And although Yun Ruoyan didn’t have any theoretical understanding of this phenomenon, she had experienced the same thing for herself. As a result, she could confidently assure her cousin, “Qingchen, don’t worry, you just have to wait for Whitey to initate contact with you.”

A blood pact was far more stable than a beastmaster’s contract. If the beastmaster’s cultivation wasn’t able to keep up with the beast’s maturity, there was a non-negligible probability that the beastmaster would be unable to control a contracted beast. There had been reported incidents of such beasts breaking free of such a contract and causing severe backlash to the beastmaster’s spiritual vortex.

However, such a situation would never occur for a blood pact. Once a magical beast chose a master, it would protect that person for life. Only when one or the other died would the blood pact lose effect. As a result, no matter what Whitey became, Yun Ruoyan didn’t have to worry about Lin Qingchen’s safety.

Yun Ruoyan helped Lin Qingchen up before the two of them released Whitey back into the lake. Although its wounds looked rather serious, they were all superficial and would easily heal in time.

Yun Moxiao hadn’t managed to tame Whitey even after spending considerable effort, but he was quite happy about helping Lin Qingchen out. Being a little embarrassed, she volunteered to have Yun Moxiao take one of her other creatures instead.

Yun Moxiao glanced at the strange creatures inhabiting the bamboo garden—a one-eared stubby-legged pig, a blood-crown rooster missing half its crown, and a catfish that laughed shrilly and shrieked piercingly.

“Qingchen, I can’t do anything with your other magical beasts except eat them,” he joked.

Those beasts had witnessed Yun Moxiao’s frightening aura, and they were all so frightened by his words that they scattered all about the garden.

At night, Yun Ruoyan sat cross-legged on her bed as she entered her pocket dimension and began blademaster training.

After recovering from the poison, Yun Ruoyan found to her surprise that her spiritual vortex had expanded again, and it was even easier for her to absorb and condense spiritual energy now.  Even more exciting was the fact that her cultivation already seemed to be inching toward eighth-rank. 

Yun Ruoyan had always been rather secretive about her cultivation, not wanting to stand out in front of a crowd just to receive vacuous praise. Neither did she want those around her to be shocked by her unusually rapid advancement. Instead, she eagerly awaited the day her cultivation would be sufficiently advanced to guarantee her freedom.

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