“Are you feeling sorry? Or should I say… feeling regret?” Qianye Ying’er asked meaningfully after Yun Che fell silent.
“No,” Yun Che said coldly. “I gave her opportunities, but she must handle her own growth. No growth is easy, especially considering the situation the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan is currently in. All eyes, hopes and resources are on her, and so she must be able to bear that burden or be crushed by it.”
“Is that so?” Qianye Ying’er said with a half smile, “but you’re pretty distracted as of late. Your mind is elsewhere even when you’re cultivating. Don’t tell me it’s because you miss Nanhuang Chanyi’s delicious body?”
Ignoring Qianye Ying’er’s taunts, Yun Che continued to stare at the closed door and said, “Yun Shang is the Heavenly Handle Yun Clan’s only hope. I’m just worried that they might do something drastic to her because of their overeagerness.”
“Oh!” Qianye Ying’er faked realization and dragged her voice on purpose, “So that little girl is the one who has been distracting you. Now that I think about it, Xia Qingyue was only sixteen when she married you, wasn’t she? I also heard from your daughter that Feng Xue’er, her master, was also sixteen when she got together with you… Tsk. So many years have pa.s.sed, but your taste in women hasn’t changed at all.”
Yun Che’s eyebrows sank slightly. “What are you trying to say!?”
“If your daughter is still alive, she would be almost sixteen now. Yun Shang is almost the same age as her, and they even resemble one another. Unfortunately…” Qianye Ying’er looked down and played with her fingers, “She isn’t Yun Wuxin. Your daughter is dead, dead forever!”
Yun Che lost control of his mind and his profound energy at the same time. He strode forward, grabbed Qianye Ying’er by the neck and slammed her against the wall behind her.
“...” His eyes looked like they were drenched in blood, and his expression was downright terrifying.
His fingers felt like iron hooks against her skin, and the exhaled air brus.h.i.+ng against her cheeks felt as hot as fire. But Qianye Ying’er didn’t panic at all. Yun Che’s face was only inches away from hers, but she smiled tauntingly at him and said, “Tell me, how did your daughter die again? Was she killed by Xia Qingyue? Was she driven to death by the three divine regions? No, she died because of your naivety, your uselessness, and your so-called benevolence!”
“You!” Yun Che’s fingers tightened around her neck further while trembling like a leaf.
“You think you can wipe away the sin and regret of your failure to protect your daughter by treating Yun Shang well? You think you can use her to fill the hole in your heart? Then I can tell you that it’s impossible! It will never happen!” Qianye Ying’er stared right back as she shouted at him. The glint in her eyes was even sharper than his. “This is a mistake on top of a mistake!”
“What you should be doing right now, the only thing you can do, is take revenge for her! You just discarded all of your weaknesses and burdens, and now you’re going to create a new one for yourself? Heh…”
Qianye Ying’er lifted her own hand and gripped his wrist. She said, “When we arrived here, you said that your plan was to use the Sinful Yun Clan and deprive the Nine Lights Heavenly Palace of their resources. I was a fool to have trusted you back then!”
“...” Yun Che clenched his teeth tighter but said nothing in return.
“It’s true that I’m your tool, but don’t forget that you’re my tool as well! You can be stupid, but I can stop you from being stupid!” A terrible killing intent suddenly erupted from Qianye Ying’er’s beautiful eyes as she said, “You'd best stop now while you still can, or I will kill her with my own hands!”
The air turned incredibly icy. Slowly, Yun Che removed his hand from Qianye Ying’er’s neck, leaving behind five reddened finger marks on her skin.
“Our families share the same origin, but we live in two different worlds. I’ve seen this place already, so I shouldn’t be wasting anymore time here.” Yun Che closed his eyes and muttered to himself.
While he was talking to himself, light profound energy appeared from his fingertips and healed the red marks on Qianye Ying’er’s snow white neck.
Qianye Ying’er slapped his hand away hard before asking coldly, “So?”
“...We will leave tomorrow,” Yun Che said in a low tone. “Their fate is their own. Whatever conclusion they may meet when the deadline arrives, it has nothing to do with me!”
“Senior… Sister Qianying.”
Yun Shang showed up very early today, much earlier than any other time. She also seemed to be in a good mood, her smile was a lot more relaxed than yesterday.
“Not going to the ancestral shrine today?” Yun Che asked with a smile.
“I just came back from there actually,” Yun Shang replied with a smile. “The elders praised my body and my profound veins. They said that the time I used to refine and absorb the Thunder Dragon’s blood was much, much shorter than expected, and they have something important to discuss. So, they allowed me to come over to play.”
Yun Shang’s aura and body were changing every day. Her aura had the scent of high level medicine in it, and her body was refined many times over. It was clear that many experts had given their all for her.
Thanks to the Dragon Dawn Jade Nectar and Eternal Calamity of Darkness, Yun Shang’s compatibility with all kinds of spirit energy—especially darkness profound energy—was absolutely extraordinary. Be it pellet absorption or body refinement, the speed at which she completed her tasks, and her results, never failed to catch the Yun Clan off guard. Of course, it also fanned the flames of their excitement.
The reason they allowed her to come out and relax was probably because they had an important ceremony to prepare. Their clan could very well perish when the deadline arrived, so they had to spend all their power and resources on Yun Shang while they still could.
Yun Shang’s smile was as bright as ever, but there was also a dodgy glint in her eyes. He didn’t need to ask to know why… Yun Xiang’s att.i.tude alone had explained everything. Her clansmen must’ve told her to keep her distance or even leave him, but she was trying very hard not to let it show.
“Yun Shang,” Yun Che got down on his knees and said, “The road ahead of you will be full of hards.h.i.+ps, but this is a process you must endure because your clan is in danger. I’m sure that your future will be th.o.r.n.y as well. I hope… you will grow quickly. At the very least, you need to be able to protect yourself.”
“Huh?” Yun Shang blinked her eyes in confusion. “Mn, I know. But why are you acting so strange today, senior? You never say things like this.”
“I’m leaving,” Yun Che said directly.
Yun Shang froze for a second. Then, her expression devolved into panic, “Where… where are you headed to?”
“Anywhere that isn’t here, of course,” Yun Che answered. “We’ve been the clan’s guests for a very long time. We should’ve said goodbye a long time ago.”
“But… but…” She panicked. It was a kind of panic that ran so deep that she couldn’t speak properly. “But you said you’d stay until the day of the deadline.”
Yun Che put a hand on her shoulder and looked into her eyes. “Yun Shang, you must remember this. Never trust anything anyone says easily, because… even the one you thought you could trust the most may lie to you one day.”
“...” Yun Shang’s eyes s.h.i.+vered, but she opened her lips and formed a smile. She said, “Mn! Senior is… an amazing person. You saved my life, escorted me back to my clan safely, and even gave me so much… but I was so selfish… I didn’t want senior to leave… I…”
She was doing her best to smile at him, but there was nothing she could do about the tears sliding down her cheeks. “Senior’s world must be tall and broad… please be safe wherever you go.”
“Mn. Don’t worry about me.” Yun Che wiped away her tears with a finger. His gaze was peaceful and calm.
“I… I’ll go inform Chief Grandpa and Big Brother Xiang right now. I’m sure they’ll want to send you off personally.” That was what she said, but her hands had tightened on Yun Che’s sleeves unconsciously. She wasn’t willing to let him go.
Yun Che shook his head and replied, “It’s fine, I’ll leave right now. They probably wanted me to leave a long time ago.”
Yun Shang’s eyes turned sorrowful as she bowed her head. It took her a while before she mustered the strength to say, “Senior… will you visit me in the future?”
“I won’t.” His answer was indifferent and cruel.
She wiped away all the tears on her face. Instead of acting sad, she raised her head high and said, “If… if one day I find Senior, can you please not run away from me?”
“...Alright.” Yun Che nodded affirmatively. “But as you said, my world is tall and broad. If you wish to find me, you must become even stronger than you are now.”
“Mn!” She nodded strongly. “I… I’ll live no matter what happens. I’ll… definitely… see you again, senior.”
Yun Che removed his gaze and his arm from her shoulder. Then, he said, “Let’s go, Qianying.”
He started walking toward the door before he was even finished talking. There was no hesitation or longing in his stride.
“Senior!” Yun Shang cried out from behind again. “Can you promise me another selfish wish?”
Yun Che stopped in his tracks.
“Can you… leave something behind for me?” Her tearful, begging voice could melt any hardened heart. “I want to look at it whenever I think about…”
“Unnecessary distractions will only hinder your journey,” Yun Che cut her off cruelly before starting to walk once more.
One step… two steps… three steps… The girl behind him didn’t say anything, but the soundless sadness spreading from her person was unmistakable.
Yun Che stopped again and exhaled deeply. Then, he turned around and returned to Yun Shang’s side without warning. He was holding up a pure, thick light of darkness on his fingertip.
It was the light of the Eternal Calamity of Darkness.
“Ah…” Yun Shang let out a yelp of surprise, but Yun Che had already drawn a pitch black mark on her solar plexus. The moment the mark took form, it let out a black flash before vanis.h.i.+ng into nothing.
“Se… nior?” She looked at him in confusion.
“If you’re in danger, you can use it to call out to my name.”
The moment he finished speaking, he turned around and took to the sky. A burst of air later, he had vanished completely into the horizon.
Yun Shang stared at the sky quietly. She didn’t look away for a very long time.