“Yun Che, you’ve finally come. I’ve been waiting for you all this while.”
The Ice Phoenix girl’s voice was as gentle and soft as water, as wispy as a dream.
She had sensed Jie Yuan’s aura the very moment she returned and the eruption of this crimson calamity was even earlier than she had expected.
But after that, the aura of the Primal Chaos was surprisingly calm, and today Yun Che had finally returned. The fact that he was safe and sound was already a huge comfort to her.
Yun Che took a step forward, a faint smile on his face as he said, “Mn, I’ve returned. You must have been really worried during this period of time.”
“It looks like a piece of beautiful news has accompanied you here as well.” After she sensed Yun Che’s mood, the Ice Phoenix girl’s voice grew even more heart-wrenchingly gentle.
“Yes!” Yun Che gave a heavy nod of his head before he told her everything that had happened after Jie Yuan’s return in great detail… This continued until he reached the part about the impending return of the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor to beyond the Primal Chaos and her plan to forever destroy the pa.s.sageway that connected the Primal Chaos to the void outside it.
The bottom of the Heavenly Lake sank into a long period of silence and the sound of the Ice Phoenix girl’s long and emotional sigh rang after that.
“The Heretic G.o.d is the most magnanimous and magnificent divine being in the G.o.d race. He was counted among the most supreme existences in the universe, yet he laid down his own life to leave behind the hope of salvation for the future. And as for the Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor, she is so magnificent and n.o.ble that one cannot help but gasp in amazement.”
“It comes to no surprise that the Heretic G.o.d, as one of the Creation G.o.ds back in the day, would actually have given himself over to her so completely.”
“It’s just that the future generations will never be aware that the peaceful world they live in was actually bestowed upon them by a husband and wife they could never accept. If the G.o.ds and devils are truly watching from the afterlife, I wonder what they think.”
“It’s not only them, there’s you as well,” Yun Che said sincerely. “If you had not clung strongly to existence because of your love for all creation and given me that most important guidance, we might not have obtained the outcome that we did today.”
“Compared to the Heretic G.o.d and his wife, the price I paid can be said to be extremely small. But it’s you… who directly faced the returned Devil Emperor as a mortal and ultimately resolved this crisis. You deserve all the glory and praise in this universe. You deserve to be feted and heralded by the universe for all the generations to come.”
“Eh…” This was something that Yun Che truly could not accept. Because from the start to finish, he had always felt that his efforts were truly not on par with the results that had been produced.
“As such, my worries and attachments have come to an end and my wishes have been fulfilled. I can finally move on in peace.”
She had actually said those words in such a gentle and tepid manner, there was not a single hint of reluctance or indecision in them.
Yun Che raised his head, a complicated look in his eyes. He gave a sigh as he said, “Must it truly end like this?”
“There’s no need for you to ask me to stay and there’s even less of a need to feel sad on my behalf,” the Ice Phoenix girl said gently. “I am someone who should not even have existed in this era in the first place, and it’s only because I was unable to let go of my worries and attachments that I have persisted until now. Today, I have obtained the most perfect result, so there’s no longer a reason for me to feel worried, no longer a reason for me to exist.”
“Please… treat the Heretic G.o.d’s and Heaven Smiting Devil Emperor’s daughter kindly. Consider this my final request.”
“Alright!” Yun Che gave a heavy nod of his head as he slowly enunciated each word, “As long as I live, I will never allow them to suffer any mistreatment.”
At this moment, cracks started to swiftly spread across the surface of the ice crystal that encased the Ice Phoenix girl. After that it shattered and released her body, a body that seemed to have been carved from jade, and the power and vitality that it had been sealing with all of its might.
A cl.u.s.ter of incredibly deep blue light spread out from the bottom of the Heavenly Lake and reached all the way to the surface.
The thickest beam of light engulfed Yun Che’s body.
“To be able to bestow the last of my power to you is the best resting place for my remaining life and soul.”
Every inch of the icy flesh and jade bones he could see was peerlessly beautiful and completely flawless, but it did not cause a single ripple of l.u.s.t in Yun Che’s heart. Because he knew that following the shattering of this ice crystal, the last remaining divine being in the universe would disappear as well.
After a short period of silence, all of the icy blue aurora suddenly morphed into countless blue stars which swiftly flew towards Yun Che. The moment these stars came into contact with his body, they soundlessly melted into his body.
The world in front of Yun Che instantly turned icy blue. This icy blue color kept growing deeper and deeper, until he was unable to clearly see the figure of the Ice Phoenix girl. He closed his eyes and quietly accepted the last gift given to him by the Ice Phoenix girl… along with the last vestiges of her life.
By the time Yun Che had silently opened his eyes, the world in front of him was no longer filled with that icy blue aurora or those blue stars. He only saw the waters of the Heavenly Lake, waters which still silently coursed with extreme cold.
There was now an azure-colored star that rested within his profound veins.
The figure of the Ice Phoenix girl had now become as filmy as mist, but there was still a shallow smile on her fantastically beautiful face. “Yun Che, your powers and your profound veins are extremely unique. If any other living creature could fully refine the last bit of my Ice Phoenix divine powers, it would boost them to the level of Divine Master. But in your case and your case alone, perhaps becoming a Divine Sovereign might already be the limit.”
“To me, this is already a gift that is far too grand,” Yun Che said gratefully. “I will fully refine this power as soon as possible. I definitely won’t waste what you have given me. I will also forever remember your existence and everything you have done for this universe on behalf of the rest of creation.
The Ice Phoenix girl gave a small smile as her body continued to grow more and more misty.
“There is one more thing that I hope you can tell me about,” Yun Che said. He had not forgotten the words Ice Phoenix girl had said to him back then… The words concerning Mu Xuanyin.
The Ice Phoenix girl lapsed into a short period of silence before she softly said, “I’ll say this once again. For you to know the truth regarding this matter will not benefit you at all. On the contrary, it might even damage you emotionally to a certain extent. But if you continue to remain unaware, you’ll be fine for the rest of your life. So even if this is the case, do you still have to know?”
Yun Che nodded his head with no hesitation at all. “I want to know.”
“Fine.” Since Yun Che desired to hear the truth, the Ice Phoenix girl did not hesitate any longer. Instead, she started to speak in an unhurried manner, “I told you last time that the reason why your master was able to become the first Divine Master in the history of the Snow Song Realm and the reason behind her great increase in strength in recent years was because of the Ice Phoenix Divine Soul that I bestowed upon her a long time ago.”
Yun Che gave a small nod of his head.
“It is also precisely because of the existence of the Ice Phoenix Divine Soul that I am able to easily interfere with her will.”
Yun Che was stunned by that revelation, his brow faintly furrowing in response. Following that, he suddenly realized something and his heart fiercely thumped in his chest. “Could it be that you’ve actually been… interfering with her will at certain times over the past few years?”
The Ice Phoenix girl replied, “In the past, I did indeed only interfere on certain occasions. But she has been under my mental interference ever since you arrived in the Snow Song Realm, and it hasn’t stopped yet.”
Yun Che’s pupils dilated slightly and an extreme feeling of unease was suddenly birthed in his heart. “So how exactly have you been… interfering with her will? In what way exactly?”
Even though she was slightly taken aback by Yun Che’s reaction, the Ice Phoenix girl continued, “The first time you stepped into the Heavenly Netherfrost Lake seven years ago, I sensed your existence and I could faintly sense that you had inherited the Heretic G.o.d’s divine power.”
“After that, you sank to the bottom of the Heavenly Lake and met me. I read your memories and as a result, I discovered many shocking truths and I saw a great hope as well.”
Yun Che silently listened to her words, but his hands had unconsciously balled into fists as the uneasiness in his heart continued to grow.
“It was just that I was unable to leave the Heavenly Lake, so I was unable to protect you or guide your growth. As a result, I chose Mu Xuanyin… When you left the Heavenly Lake, I used the Ice Phoenix Divine Soul in her body as a medium to engrave a brand in her soul, a brand that made her ‘prioritize you over everything else’.”
It was as if something had suddenly exploded inside of Yun Che’s mind.
“Heh, heh heh…” He started to laugh but his laughter was exceptionally cold and bleak. “So you’re saying that… all the good things Master has done for me have not been done by her own will. It was only… because of your mental interference… Heh… What sort of joke is this… Are you kidding me!?”
His hands were trembling and his insides had gone cold… He had never heard such an absurd thing ever before! How could there be something so absurd in this world!?
His thoughts and emotions had become incomparably chaotic, so chaotic that even he found it rather hard to believe. His vision had even started going slightly blurry… However, all of his memories of Mu Xuanyin were incomparably clear right now. Every scene, every glance, every word…
As well… as the countless doubts and suspicions that had arisen in his heart before.
Doubts and suspicion over why Mu Xuanyin would treat him so well...
When he had first arrived in the Snow Song Realm back then, Mu Xuanyin was the great realm king of the Snow Song Realm and the first Divine Master in its history. She possessed unsurpa.s.sed status and prestige and she had authority over the life and death of countless living beings. She stood at the highest level even when compared to the rest of the G.o.d Realm.
Meanwhile, Yun Che was a lowly junior from the lower realms whose cultivation had not even stepped into the divine way, someone that even the disciples at the bottom rung of the Divine Ice Phoenix would not even spare a glance… The only thing about him that could even be considered special was that he had been brought to the Snow Song Realm by Mu Bingyun and he had been the one who had saved her life.
In every single aspect, the distance between him and Mu Xuanyin was like the difference between heaven and earth.
Moreover, before Yun Che had even met Mu Xuanyin, he had heard many times that the Snow Song Realm King was an extremely cold and heartless person. She would never show any warmth or pity. The entire Divine Ice Phoenix Sect and even everyone in the Snow Song Realm feared her far more than they respected her.
But, to him and him alone...
Yun Che could rationalize Mu Xuanyin taking him as her disciple because his control over ice profound energy far exceeded all the other disciples, so he felt like it was only natural that he became her disciple. But everything that had happened after that… everything...
Time and again, she had been so good to him that he practically felt like it was all an illusion every single time.
This rang especially true every time he interacted with Mu Bingyun. It was clear that even she was deeply shocked, or perhaps it was better to say that she was completely astounded that Mu Xuanyin would treat him this well.
That’s right… Why would...
A junior profound pract.i.tioner from the lower realms cause her, a Divine Master and realm king, to act in such a manner?
She had never coveted his Heretic G.o.d divine powers and had even helped him conceal it with all of her strength… She had allowed him to freely use the Heavenly Netherfrost Lake that even elders and palace masters would be lucky to touch once every century… She had helped him trick Huo Rulie in order to s.n.a.t.c.h away the Golden Crow’s Record of the Burning World… His great and blasphemous sin had actually been completely wiped clean after a single rebuke… Before the Profound G.o.d Convention, she had neglected her sect and focused solely on him for two entire years… She had furiously rebuked the Sword Sovereign… She had concocted the Universe Penta Jade Pellet for him… had secretly followed him to the Ice Wind Empire, and then to the Eternal Heaven G.o.d Realm...
She had even saved him and faced off against Gu Zhu directly, and she had truly disregarded the safety of the entire Snow Song Realm in doing so.
As it turns out, all of these things had actually only occurred because of someone else’s mental interference. It had not been due to her own desires at all!
All of his suspicions, astonishment, and incredulity over the last few years had been completely dispelled. As expected, there was no such thing as good that was done for no good reason or good that came out of nowhere… and it was the sort of benevolence that transcended all common sense and went against all logic.
From the very beginning, all of the good she had done for him, all of the sacrifices she had made for him, and even those hazy feelings that precariously teetered over the border of the forbidden… From the beginning to the end, it had not been Mu Xuanyin but the will of the Ice Phoenix divine being!
But why did this answer feel so absurd and so cruel?
The scene where he hugged her and gently whispered the words “Xuanyin” into her ear was still fresh in his mind. The way his heart had been stirred at that moment had been indelibly carved into his soul.
“Your concern over this matter has exceeded my expectations,” the Ice Phoenix girl said in a gentle voice. “I hope that you will be able to accept this matter as soon as possible.”
The intensity of Yun Che’s reaction had made her start to regret telling him this truth.
Yun Che’s hands were clenched tightly and they tightened yet again after that. He was unable to describe how he was feeling right now… It was as if an important piece of his soul had suddenly turned into an illusion and scattered, forming an incredibly painful, and maybe irreparable, void in his heart.
“Remove it.” He opened his mouth but only those two terse but incredibly stiff words came from his mouth.
“...” the Ice Phoenix girl fell silent. She understood what Yun Che meant, and she was shocked that he would even say those two words. It was only after a long period of time had pa.s.sed that she started to speak in a soft and gentle voice, “If I remove my mental interference, given her own will, she will never treat you the same way again. Moreover, given everything that has happened between the two of you, it is very likely that she will develop an intense hatred and antagonism towards you… and she might even want to kill you.”
“I think that you understand that.”
She had always been using the Ice Phoenix Divine Soul inside Mu Xuanyin to observe the outside world, so she had clearly seen everything that had happened between Mu Xuanyin and Yun Che.