Qianye Ying’er’s quiet, almost provocative words incited immediate action on Caizhi’s part. She vibrated her sword slightly and sent Yun Che flying. Then, she surrounded Qianye Ying’er with the power of the Heavenly Wolf Sacred Sword, completely cutting off the latter’s chances of retreat or survival.
But before her sword could unleash its destructive might, Qianye Ying’er raised her arm slightly and opened her palm. A blue light landed at the center of her palm before a melodious ringing followed. “Do you still recognize this, little heavenly wolf?”
The object in her hand was a tiny, simple bell. The string was made from colorful vines, and the bell was carved from colorful jade. Right now though, it was flowing faintly with blue light.
Caizhi stopped, her grim pupils trembling a little. Of course she recognized the simple—one might even say crude—bell. It was the first ever gift her younger self had made with Jasmine’s help and gifted to her older brother, Xisu. The bell held her purest, sincerest wish—the wish that her older brother would always be safe no matter where he went.
In fact, she had stood on her toes and tied the bell onto his waist herself.
However, the bell had been missing when he returned home with his dying breath.
“You…” Caizhi’s vision blurred for an instant and she gritted her teeth.
“Relax, I didn’t steal this from him. He was the one who gave it to me when he knew he was going to die, right before he returned to the Star G.o.d Realm.”
“Honestly, I thought that the day I would need to use this would never come, but it appears that his thoughts weren’t wasted after all.” Qianye Ying’er shook the bell lightly, and the blue light covering the jade bell suddenly left its host. It quickly spread out and transformed into a blurry figure.
A person’s figure.
The blue figure was almost the same size as Yun Che. His face was blurry and unrecognizable, but both Yun Che and Caizhi were still shaken when he appeared in front of them.
Yun Che wasn’t unfamiliar with the figure or his aura. It was because he had already appeared once from the ring Caizhi gave him.
It was Xisu’s soul shadow!
Caizhi couldn’t mistake him for someone else even if his voice and soul aura were another ten times fainter than they were now!
Yun Che narrowed his eyes slightly… When the fragmented soul on the ring disappeared after telling him the truth, he thought that that was the last he would see of the Heavenly Wolf Xisu. However, that was obviously not the case!
“...” Caizhi’s expression didn’t change, but she was obviously transfixed by the increasingly distinct shadow of Xisu.
After so many years, she didn’t think that she would have a chance to meet her older brother’s soul in such close proximity again.
A weak voice came from the soul shadow. “You’ve grown up, Caizhi.”
It was the exact same voice Yun Che had heard back then. However, this one was a lot weaker.
“...” Caizhi showed no overt reaction besides tightening her grip a bit.
“I didn’t think that you would be the one to inherit the Heavenly Wolf’s divine power. Once, you were as fragile as a young b.u.t.terfly. But now, you’ve grown to the point where you could drive even the Lady G.o.ddess into a corner. Both you and Jasmine are my eternal pride.”
Xisu’s voice was gentle and warm. He hadn’t said much, but nearly half his soul shadow was gone already. Clearly, the fragmented soul he imbued the bell with was far weaker than the one in the ring. Xisu continued before Caizhi could reply. “I must have told you not to take revenge for me after my pa.s.sing, but I know that neither you nor Jasmine will listen to me. That is why I left behind this, the most precious gift I have ever received, with her.”
“It is my wish that both sides will be able to lay down whatever grudge and hatred they bear for my sake…”
“Lady G.o.ddess, they are my closest relatives. I ask that you don’t hurt them considering all that I’ve done for you. Otherwise, I who have given you my life will never forgive you.”
“Jasmine, Caizhi. The Lady G.o.ddess is a dream I’m willing to spend my whole life chasing after. I don’t mind dying for her, so it goes without saying that it is my lifetime wish to see her safe and sound.”
“Don’t take revenge for me, for there was never any hatred between you three. I won’t be able to rest easy if any of you were hurt.”
The unstable soul finally dissipated without a trace.
The blue light that was covering the jade bell earlier was also gone completely.
The world returned to silence once more. Caizhi stared blankly at the jade bell and didn’t say anything for a very long time.
Yun Che let out a quiet breath. The cost of leaving a fragment of one’s soul behind was a great amount of lifespan and soul origin. Xisu was already near death at the time, but he still chose to leave behind a fragmented soul with Qianye Ying’er.
One of the reasons he did this was to protect Jasmine and Caizhi. He knew that the sisters would want to take revenge for him, but he knew even better just how strong Qianye Ying’er was. The Lady G.o.ddess would very likely have the upper hand if they attacked her recklessly… In that case, he hoped that Qianye Ying’er would acknowledge his wish and let them live considering everything he had done for her. His soul shadow would also stop the sisters from carrying out any future acts of vengeance.
Going by the same logic, the other reason he gave Qianye Ying’er the bell was to save her life in case the sisters were able to corner her.
However, it was obvious that Qianye Ying’er had no intentions of honoring his wish, at least not the part where he asked for Jasmine and Caizhi’s safety. Not long after Xisu was gone, Jasmine almost succ.u.mbed to the Southern Sea G.o.d Emperor’s poison. Of course, the real mastermind behind the poisoning was none other than Qianye Ying’er.
Qianye Ying’er was immune to all forms of emotions unless her father was involved. Qianye Ying’er might be someone Xisu was willing to give his life for, but Xisu… was just a useful tool to Qianye Ying’er. She wasn’t moved at all by his death.
In fact… she was still using him after he was dead.
But there was no way Jasmine and Caizhi could ignore Xisu’s wish, especially considering his last line. “I won’t be able to rest easy if any of you were hurt”.
He was practically putting a curse on himself to protect Qianye Ying’er.
How could Caizhi or Jasmine kill Qianye Ying’er after that, even if their hatred for her was ten thousand times greater than it was?
There were too many people who went mad in pursuit of the “Lady G.o.ddess”. There exist several pinnacles in this world such as the pinnacle of wealth, the pinnacle of authority, the pinnacle of the profound way, and so on… and Qianye Ying’er represented the pinnacle of beauty.
Out of all the people who fell for Qianye Ying’er, Heavenly Wolf Xisu might just be the one who loved her the most.
Unfortunately for him, the woman he fell for was literally the most heartless woman in the entire world.
Yun Che didn’t know if he should feel respect, regret… or pity for Heavenly Wolf Xisu.
In the end, Caizhi chose to lower her sword.
But although her sword had vanished into thin air, her killing intent hadn’t retracted in the slightest.
There was a tiny rip in s.p.a.ce, and Caizhi s.n.a.t.c.hed the jade bell from Qianye Ying’er’s hands. She slowly looked at the woman and said, “You’re right to say I cannot kill you.”
“Oh?” Qianye Ying’er raised her eyebrows slightly.
“But someone else can.” She then looked at Yun Che and said, “You have two choices, Yun Che.”
She called him “Yun Che”, not “brother-in-law”.
Yun Che, “...”
“Kill her.” Her voice was icy and emotionless. The look in her eyes especially was as unfamiliar as a stranger’s. “Kill her, and I’ll come with you to the Northern Divine Region. I’ll become your sword, your tool, and your incubator.”
“...” Yun Che’s eyebrows twitched slightly.
“Or you can keep her,” her eyes darkened even further when she said this, “and sever what we have between us forever. You’ll never see me again for as long as you live.”
The radiant, impossibly naive girl who was weirdly conscious about her age and body shape might never appear to him again. Yun Che slowly opened his palm to the woman who said cruel things to him the old her would never say.
It was the ring Caizhi had given him a long time ago.
“You know your ultimatum is foolish, don’t you?” Yun Che said softly as he looked at Caizhi. “Our ‘ceremony’ was so simple it felt like a joke, but it was still Jasmine’s earnest wish. We traded tokens, we kowtowed thrice, and we were witnessed by your mother and Jasmine. From that point onward, we were husband and wife.”
Qianye Ying’er, “... ?”
Caizhi’s lips moved slightly.
“You are my wife. She is my tool. This isn’t a choice to me at all.” Yun Che walked toward Caizhi and held up the ring. “So come with me to the Northern Divine Region, alright?”
As Yun Che moved closer towards Caizhi, a flash of panic actually flitted across the woman’s face.
Her killing intent suddenly dissipated into nothing, and to everyone’s surprise, she turned around and flew away. It only took her the blink of an eye to disappear into the horizon.
Yun Che shouted after her, but she was too fast for him to follow. All he could do was watch her vanish from his sight.
Two glowing objects dropped slowly toward the ground where Caizhi had vanished. When Yun Che caught them and gave them a look, he realized that one of them was the Divine Fruit of Absolute Beginning, and the other a simple spatial crystal… there were hundreds of profound beast cores inside it!
Almost all the profound cores were perfectly intact. Each one was so powerful it was terrifying.
They were all collected from the ancient beasts of the G.o.d Realm of Absolute Beginning. Over three hundred of them belonged to Divine Sovereigns, and thirty of them… belonged to Divine Masters!
“...” Yun Che looked up and didn’t say anything for a very long time.
“I didn’t know you and the little Heavenly Wolf were connected this way,” Qianye Ying’er said from behind. “So, both sisters are in your harem, hmm? You’re truly worse than a beast.”
Yun Che didn’t react at all.
“The Heavenly Wolf’s divine power is born from hatred. Obviously, the Heavenly Slaughter Star G.o.d did what she did because she was afraid that the little Heavenly Wolf would be devoured by hatred after realizing the truth. Though it looks like she succeeded,” Qianye Ying’er said slowly. “The little Heavenly Wolf’s power is completely deformed by hatred. One might even say that she has become a devil through and through. But surprisingly, her mind hasn’t succ.u.mbed completely.”
“Her father wanted to sacrifice her, the Star G.o.d Realm wanted to abandon her, and her last relative was exiled from the Primal Chaos. The only reason she’s able to maintain her current state of mind, is you… If not for you, she would have already transformed into a devilish wolf who knew only hatred.”
Yun Che continued to stay silent, but there was movement around the corner of his lips. It lasted for only an instant, but it was definitely a smile that had crossed his face.
Qianye Ying’er was right. Caizhi’s power had fallen completely to the dark side, and she was far stronger than ever before. But she didn’t allow her mind to fall into the abyss of hatred completely… because she didn’t want Yun Che to disappear from her thoughts and soul.
Jasmine, I once laughed at you for connecting Caizhi and I by force, but it was your “foolish” decision that has created this amazing miracle.
“She never wanted to kill you in the first place,” Yun Che finally said. “She has had countless chances to do so if that was the case.”
The Divine Fruit of the Absolute Beginning, the amazing quant.i.ty and quality of profound cores—it was clear that Caizhi had known of their presence for a very long time. She might even have been watching them as early as a year ago.
“I know,” Qianye Ying’er replied. She knew from the moment Yun Che stopped Caizhi the first time that she didn’t truly want to kill her. The little Heavenly Wolf’s aura was almost as strong as Xisu’s, so there was no way Yun Che could stop her if she truly set her mind to it.
Perhaps she just wanted to hear the answer she desired from Yun Che himself.
“A question.” Qianye Ying’er wrapped her arms around her chest and asked, “You tried really hard to protect me earlier. Is it really just because I’m a useful tool and incubator?”
“What else?” Yun Che put away the Divine Fruit of Absolute Beginning and the spatial crystal.
“...” Qianye Ying’er didn’t say anything.
“Well, there’s another reason.” Yun Che shot her a side glance before continuing. “All things considered, you are a pretty good plaything.”
“Really? Just ‘good’?” Qianye Ying’er let out a soft laugh before saying coyly, “To you men, I am the best plaything in the entire world. No one can hope to compare to or replace me. A tool or an incubator can be abandoned as the user sees fit, but never a plaything such as I.”
“Heh.” Yun Che snorted derisively at that.
“I do hope that you would be a little gentler when you’re toying with your plaything though.” Qianye Ying’er withdrew her gaze slightly as if she was complaining to a lover. “You won’t be able to find a replacement even if you have the entire G.o.d Realm beneath your feet.”
“Or are all men as violent and unruly as you are?”
Yun Che shot her another sideways glance before declaring coldly, “You won’t know, because you’ll never have another man besides me.”
“Oh?” Qianye Ying’er narrowed her eyes slightly. “That is not for you to decide!”
Yun Che extended an arm and allowed his fingers to slide from her velvety, white neck to her chest. “You’ll never escape from my grasp for as long as you live. Of this, I’m very certain.”
“What about after you’re gone?” The ghost of a smile flitted across Qianye Ying’er’s lips.
“...I won’t die ahead of you.” Yun Che pulled away and left after that.
Qianye Ying’er didn’t follow after Yun Che immediately. Instead, she watched his back for some time before saying something not even the wind managed to catch, “Don’t you forget that.”