Chapter 1918 - Memory of the Moon (2)
Southern Divine Region, Seven Star Realm.
At a calm river covered by swaying willow trees, Jin Yue and her younger sister were strolling along an emerald green riverside.
As it turned out, the dark devil people were nowhere as scary as the people had imagined them to be, and the enforcers carried out Emperor Yun’s laws strictly but fairly. Amazingly, the world was actually a fairer and more peaceful place compared to what it was before.
After the initial panic had faded, the atmosphere of the Seven Star Realm had become much different in just a couple of years.
“Sister, father and grandpa have decided the date they will return to the Eastern Divine Region. Are you… really not going to follow them?”
Wei’er had grown into a quick-witted girl over the past few years. Many of her childish features had faded away and become replaced by an exquisite countenance not unlike her older sister’s. But despite her growth, Wei’er never stopped liking to stick by her sister’s side. She loved holding her hand and watching her gentle smile, even though behind it was a pool of sorrow that seemed like it would never fade.
Jin Yue shook her head while staring at the path that seemed to stretch endlessly before her. “Seven Star Realm is a very peaceful place. I like it here even though it’s only been a short few years. Maybe I’ll even spend the rest of my life here.”
It wasn’t like she never wanted to leave the Seven Star Realm. She just couldn’t.
“Listen up, you’d better leave this black sigil exactly where I put it. Don’t ever think of trying to get rid of it. If I ever sense its existence disappearing… I will come back and annihilate your entire clan!”
Those eyes that used to be so warm and gentle had become a pair of violent, black storms, the Young Master Yun she used to be on amicable terms with had become the Devil Master, destroyer of the Moon G.o.d Realm… and this cruel, black sigil he planted in her person was a curse she would never be able to escape for as long as she lived.
That was why it was a good thing that her family was leaving. The further away they were from her, the safer they would be.
“In that case, I’ll stay behind and keep you company, okay?”
Wei’er had said this with grave determination. It wasn’t a product of quick impulse; she seemed to have arrived at this decision a long time ago.
“No.” However, Jin Yue denied her without hesitation and faced toward her younger sister with stern, immovable eyes. “We’er, great grandpa’s star realm is no king realm, but it is still an upper star realm. The environment decides a person’s growth and future, and this is especially so for someone your age. You are not to act willfully in this matter, or you’ll quickly find that I am not the only one who’ll disagree with you.”
Jin Yue’s tone alone made it clear that there was absolutely no chance Wei’er was going to change her mind. The girl lowered her head a bit dejectedly before asking, “Say, sister… do you think you will marry in the future?”
“...” Jin Yue shook her head and shot her a sorrowful smile. “No.”
“Won’t you feel lonely if you’re always alone?”
“I’ll get used to it,” she replied quietly.
Although Wei’er wasn’t an adult yet, she could still sense the sorrow and helplessness buried deep within her heart. A short while later, she asked another question, “Do you… still miss the Moon G.o.d Emperor, sister?”
“...” Jin Yue’s footsteps slowed for a second. She wasn’t able to say a word in response.
Wei’er continued, “These days, everyone says that Emperor Yun is really a very good person. They say that he once saved the G.o.d Realm from a world-ending calamity, and that he chose forgiveness even after he became Emperor Yun… They also say that the G.o.d Realm will definitely march to a brighter future under his leaders.h.i.+p.”
“He… was a very good person,” Jin Yue muttered in a daze. “But…”
“But,” Wei’er’s voice grew softer, “they also say that the Moon G.o.d Emperor was a terrible person. They say that she chose ingrat.i.tude during Emperor Yun’s direst moment, and that karma came back to bite her and the Moon G.o.d Realm because of her actions. They say that she was one of the main reasons Emperor Yun chose death and destruction when he took his revenge, which means that she was at least partially to blame for all the star realms and people who have been destroyed…”
Jin’er interrupted Wei’er and carefully looked into the distance so that her younger sister wouldn’t notice the pain in her eyes. “Remember this, Wei’er. No matter what the world thinks of her, she will always be the person I admire the most.”
“Although she changed a lot after that fateful day, and it grew to the point where she wouldn’t even allow me to get close to her, it is still the greatest honor of my life to have served her.”
Her eyes gradually became unfocused and misty as she murmured more to herself than We’er, “Also… despite what people say, I kept having this strange feeling… that she was hiding some sort of secret and sorrow… that she hadn’t chosen to do what she did because she wanted to…”
“Even now, I can’t stop wondering if the real reason she chased me away… was to protect me…”
Suddenly, a dull, distant rumble hit them. Then, Jin Yue felt an unnatural, terrifying aura surging toward them at high speed.
Heart suddenly leaping to her throat, Jun Yue tried to push her younger sister away from her, “Run, Wei’er!”
She was too late. The person she dreaded the most to meet since that day appeared so fast that s.p.a.ce itself was temporarily severed.
Jin Yue felt like someone had submerged her entire body in cold ice. She pulled Wei’er behind her before saying, “Emperor… Yun.”
Yun Che didn’t waste any words. He simply stretched out his hand at her and ordered, “Give me the bronze mirror she left behind!”
Jin Yue’s heart sank to the bottom.
Something wasn’t quite right about the man in front of her. His eyes were a pair of black pools of enigma as usual, but she felt like something was s.h.i.+vering behind them. His voice was also strangely raspy for some reason. Still, his domineering tone and natural pressure were enough to choke her with fear and terror.
The bronze mirror Xia Qingyue had ordered her to destroy was an inheritance from her own mother. It was the first time Jin Yue had disobeyed her orders because she was afraid that her master would come to regret her decision. She never thought that it would become her one and only memento of Xia Qingyue.
Yun Che had killed Xia Qingyue… and now, he was going to take away even her last memento of her.
But he couldn’t deny him.
Wei’er was right behind her, not to mention her family.
She dared not hesitate for too long, nor did she possess the power to reject him. Slowly and painfully, she fished out the most important possession of her life.
She hadn’t even managed to relinquish her grip when a surge of profound energy s.n.a.t.c.hed it right out of her fingers. When she looked, she saw that the bronze mirror was already in Yun Che’s hands.
The dam in Jin Yue’s eyes instantly broke. She felt as if someone had gouged out a hole from her heart, and it felt both unbearably painful and empty. It took all of her power to keep herself from sobbing out loud.
The bronze mirror was small and delicate. It was made from a metal that was considered extremely common even among the lower realms. Yun Che felt a moment of great excitement and relief when the mirror was finally in his grasp, but they were soon overwhelmed by even greater sorrow.
He had the entire universe beneath his feet.
But Xia Qingyue only had this tiny bronze mirror.
He slowly and carefully held the mirror tight before turning his back on Jin Yue and Wei’er. Then, he prepared to leave.
“Young Master Yun!”
A sobbing shout reached him from behind. Jin Yue was so desperate that she called him what she used to call him a long time ago instead of the far more appropriate “Emperor Yun” or “Devil Master”.
Perhaps Yun Che had always been “Young Master Yun” to her.
“I… I know that master is unworthy of you, but… but that’s literally her last possession in this whole wide world. Whatever you do, just please… please don’t destroy it!”
Her strength left her body after she begged with all her might. She dropped to one knee and started sobbing uncontrollably.
For a short while, Yun Che didn’t move a muscle. Then, he slowly turned around to face her.
“She has never… been unworthy to me.”
Instead of the brutality and darkness she expected, the reply was spoken with a sadness and pain that almost resonated with hers.
She looked up and met his pitch black eyes… but the darkness and oppressiveness in them a moment ago was nowhere to be found.
“Jin Yue,” he said softly while watching the woman in front of him, “There is almost no one in this universe who doesn’t hate her. They all scoff at her decisions and ridicule her ending. You were the only one who still remembered her fondly and protected her important possession to this day.”
“...” Jin Yue felt completely lost and befuddled as she watched him.
Yun Che raised his hand again and slowly touched her shoulder. For a second, she thought she was going to do something terrible to her when a puff of black smoke left her body soundlessly.
The dark sigil Yun Che had once implanted in her body was gone.
Once, he had shamed Jin Yue thoroughly after encountering her simply because she used to serve Xia Qingyue.
He didn’t know how he should express his grat.i.tude or make up for past mistakes to the one woman who never lost faith in Xia Qingyue.
“Beneath Emperor Yun City, the star realm once known as the Southern Sea G.o.d Realm will be rebuilt as the Emperor Yun G.o.d Realm within a century at most.” Yun Che watched Jin Yue’s eyes as he said slowly and gravely, “You and your clan may join it and enjoy a hundred generations of protection.”
“... !!” Jin Yue’s vision shook and grew blurry. She felt like she was dreaming.
“One more thing,” Yun Che continued, “I never found those vanished Moon G.o.ds and Moon G.o.d Divine Envoys. I bet Qingyue hid them away in a safe place before she left.”
“I will find them, and…” he sucked in a deep breath before continuing, “I don’t know how many years it will take, but be it ten thousand years, a hundred thousand years, or my whole life... I will return the Moon G.o.d Realm to the G.o.d Realm one day.”
Yun Che left, but Jin Yue still hadn’t awoken from her dream.
It took a while, but Wei’er’s voice finally reached her and brought her back to the world. Starlight returning to her tearful eyes, she abruptly hugged Wei’er and cried for a very long time.
A girl’s cry resounded across the emerald green riverside for a very long time. She had cried by herself in secret for countless times throughout the years, but none was as relieving and refres.h.i.+ng as this one.
Yun Che didn’t leave the Seven Star Realm. He simply found an uninhabited place and chased away all the creatures with his aura before settling down.
He leaned against a dry, hard stone wall and held the bronze mirror lightly against his chest. Then, he slowly closed his eyes.
This time, he heard the transient voice immediately after he submerged into the soul world:
“It looks like you’ve found a medium that can be used to perform a Recollection of Nothingness.”
“Her mark of nothingness is incomplete to begin with, and the aura of nothingness on this object has faded with time. The recollection will not cover her whole life.”
“I cannot predict what you may experience from it, but I believe that it will be... enough.”
Yun Che didn’t respond to the voice. He was fully focused on his desire to know everything.
An invisible, untouchable, soundless power connected the bronze mirror in Yun Che’s hands and his soul.
The woman’s voice became distant, and the gray world suddenly faded away into nothing.
There was a bright light and a rush of wind, and an impossibly clear world suddenly appeared around him.
His soul became as taut as a string the second he made sense of the world. All of his focus became concentrated on a certain snow white figure.
Blood was dripping down her lips, and her arms were stained in red. Even so, her pale complexion failed to diminish the beauty that couldn’t be portrayed by mere ink and color.
His soundless cry reverberated across every corner of his own soul.
An empty illusion this might be, but he had finally met her again.
The Qingyue he was seeing was not the Moon G.o.d Emperor she became, however. Her younger features and eyes that hadn’t yet become tainted by the weight and pressure of reality were from an older time.
The white robes she wore… Yun Che recognized them immediately as the robes of Frozen Cloud Immortal Palace.