His shout was quick and urgent. At other times, Song Ci would definitely turn around to flee without a second thought. But this time, it was as if his legs were nailed to the spot. No matter how hard he tried, he could not move.
Feng Zhuojun grabbed his arm and turned to run, but Song Ci stumbled as he was dragged along. Feng Zhuojun looked back doubtfully. “What are you doing?”
“This child…” Song Ci stared at the young youth before him, from his eyebrows to his lips. He looked back and forth many times, shocked beyond measure.
The child looked exactly like his younger cousin brother when he was young, except for those golden eyes.
How was it possible for him to come across his cousin in this place?
“You know him? Feng Zhuojun asked in a hushed tone.
Song Ci nodded his head. “When I was still a human, I had a younger cousin brother named Liang Yanbei. He looks too much like this child. Don’t tell me this child is my cousin’s previous incarnation?”
“What previous incarnation?! That’s the Divine Lord Yan Bei, the legitimate descendant of the Azure Dragon Divine Clan, and also the paternal nephew of the Divine Emperor. It’s not advisable to linger here any longer. I’d advise you to leave as soon as possible.” Feng Zhuojun’s words were clear and simple, but it gave a thorough account of Yan Bei’s identity.
Song Ci was scared stiff by his identity and background. “Then, that cousin of mine…”
“At this point, why are you still thinking about your cousin?!” Feng Zhuojun was flustered and exasperated.
Song Ci was about to speak when he saw the Yan Bei before him taking a step. Murderous intent blazed in his eyes as he back-handedly grasped the blade in his right hand and strode towards song Ci.
He leaped high into the air, aimed the blade at Song Ci’s forehead, and bellowed, “Demon! DIE!”
That childish, baby voice was totally at odds with his murderous look; it diminished his imposing presence by half. Song Ci looked up to watch Yan Bei as the latter yelled and charged. Then he tentatively reached out a hand and caught hold of Yan Bei’s blade-wielding wrist.
Taking advantage of his momentum, he pulled Yan Bei to the side and pinned him against the ground with his right knee pressing down on Yan Bei’s back. Surprised, he asked, “Are you sure he’s a descendant of the Azure Dragon?”
Feng Zhuojun was in a fluster as he smacked Song Ci’s shoulder. “Release him! Quick!”
Song Ci twisted Yan Bei’s arm. The child let out a cry of pain as Song Ci seized his blade. “This blade looks pretty sharp. I’ll keep it as a weapon.”
With that, he removed his right knee that had been pressing down on Yan Bei. Before he could stand up, Yan Bei climbed to his feet and threw out a side elbow at Song Ci’s temple.
But in Song Ci’s eyes, this action seemed slow. He dodged it easily and back-handedly used the hilt of the blade to rap Yan Bei on his head. He said fiercely, “I am your elder cousin brother! Don’t start a fight with me!”
As if hurting from the knock, Yan Bei covered his head and retreated a few steps. Tears instantly brimmed in his beautiful, golden eyes as he sobbed and sniffed.
He glared at Song Ci, then turned around and transformed into golden light before vanishing. Song Ci scoffed, “What a brat. He’s still so unlikable even after turning this young.”
Looking speechless, Feng Zhuojun said helplessly, “You’re in deep trouble.”
“I only gave him a beating, didn’t I? Don’t tell me he will still take revenge?” Song Ci rose to his feet and lowered his head to look at the blade he had snatched away from Yan Bei. He continued, unconcerned, “Even if he did, I’m not afraid of him. He can’t win me, anyway.”
“The Divine Lord Yan Bei is still young, and he was only just awakened from the seal. It’s normal for him to lose to you…” Feng Zhuojun looked at Song Ci sympathetically. “But, his uncle…”
Feng Zhuojun’s words stalled in his mouth.
“What about his uncle?” Song Ci raised his eyebrows. “That lad Yanbei has been extremely proud ever since he was a child. He will not complain to his uncle. At most, he will sneak around us to wait for his chance to seek revenge.”
Feng Zhuojun sighed and said nothing more.
——Deep within Sihuang Mountain.
The shade of the trees blotted out the sun. Sunlight shone through the gaps between the leaves, sprinkling mosaic of golden light all over the ground.
For the sake of fairness, every participant of the Divine Hunt Meet had to ride mounts of the same breed. The clatter of horses’ hooves reverberated through the silent forest.
A soft sigh rang out through the forest. “Yan Song, I just saw that pair of Zhu brothers earlier.”
On hearing that, Yan Song turned his head. His golden eyes fell lightly upon the maiden riding a black horse behind him. “What are you scheming?”
“They looked like they need to be put in their places…” The maiden was dressed in a dazzling vermillion outfit, and her hair was tied up and secured with a white hairpin. Several strands of hair fluttered before her forehead. She said in all seriousness, “Why don’t we go over for a look?”
Yan Song frowned and voiced a genuine question. “Is there anyone you’ve seen who doesn’t deserve a beating?”
The maiden shrugged. “You don’t look like you deserve one.”
Yan Song raised his eyebrows and turned his head back. He said, “I think your suggestion is good. It just happens that Rong Bai isn’t here. It isn’t a bad idea to have a little chat with them…”
The maiden’s lips curved into a smile as a hint of excitement flashed through her eyes.
Just as they were about to change directions, they heard a cry. Yan Song’s ear twitched, and he let out an exclamation of surprise. “Why does that sound like my little nephew?”
As soon as he said that, a small Yan Bei appeared out of thin air and threw himself into Yan Song’s arms. With his arms around Yan Song’s neck, and with his tears and snot flowing, he whined. “Little Uncle, someone snatched my blade away, boohoohoohoo.”
Yan Song hurriedly held him in his arms and coaxed him in a soft voice. “Little Bei, don’t cry. Who snatched it? Uncle will grab it back for you.”
“It’s a fox spirit1 with two tails. He even hit me…” Yan Bei hiccupped as he cried, looking very aggrieved.
Yan Song’s heart ached as he patted him on the back. He said to the maiden, “Ze Chen, let’s leave the Zhu brothers aside first.”
Ze Chen’s heart was aching too. She urged her horse over to Yan Song and took Yan Bei into her arms. “Don’t be afraid, Little Bei. We’ll teach the person who snatched your thing a good lesson and make him return it to you.”
Yan Bei sank into Ze Chen’s embrace and whined, “How about Uncle Rong Bai? Will he go?”
“He will go too. We will help you get revenge.” Yan Song pretty much doted on his nephew. Without further ado, he raised his hand at Ze Chen and said, “Go. Look for Rong Bai.”
He gnashed his teeth. “I’d like to see who that audacious brat is.”
On the other side, an oblivious Song Ci was still taking a leisurely walk with Feng Zhuojun. He said as he strolled, “The scenery of this Sihuang Mountain is pretty good. It is poles apart from its name.”
“These four peaks were once barren for a very long time. There was not a single blade of grass on it, that was why they were called the Sihuang Mountain.2 But then, flowers and trees started growing on it.” Feng Zhuojun said. “But after this time, most of these four peaks will go to waste.”
“Why?” Song Ci asked offhandedly. “Did something happen?”
“Due to the dereliction of duty on the divine soldiers on reconnaissance for this hunt, they will fail to discover the ferocious beast sealed under the peak. This will lead to the beast breaking through its seal midway through the hunt. Although the beast will be killed in the end, it won’t be without casualties.” Feng Zhuojun spoke truthfully.
“There’s even such an incident?” Song Ci gave him an astonished look. “That’s a little exciting.”
Feng Zhuojun laughed scornfully. “I think there will be something more exciting coming later.”
Song Ci played with the blade in his hand happily. “Say, do you think I’d have an opportunity to go to the Divine Realm? I still want to see it.”
“Of course, there will be opportunities. It all depends on how you grab hold of them.” Feng Zhuojun said, “The blood in your body now is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It’ll be for the best if you stay in the Divine Realm. But if you head for the Demon Realm, I’m afraid…”
He did not complete the second half of his sentence, but Song Ci understood. He guessed that in this era, when Rong Bai’s name was not as prominent, demons had no fear of him, only desire. If his identity was exposed at this time in the Demon Realm, there would be no display of demons kowtowing to him. Instead, those demons would fight over themselves to clean up every single drop of blood in his body.
Song Ci said, “I’ve to squeeze my way into the Divine Realm even if I break my head.”
“There are too many people in the Six Realms who think the same way as you do.” Feng Zhuojun said, “The Divine Realm is the head of the Six Realms. Who doesn’t want to go? But not everyone has the capability to. Just do your best.”
Although he did not approve of Song Ci’s trip here, they had still come after all. He did not wish for Song Ci to return empty-handed either. So he would try his best to help where he could.
But there was nothing he could do if Song Ci refused to heed his advice and brought trouble upon himself.
Feng Zhuojun saw a tall, black horse appearing ahead of them. There was a lady in red sitting on it. In the blink of an eye, her black eyes turned crimson. On seeing Song Ci, she tilted her head, curled up the corners of her mouth, and said in a soft voice, “Found you.”
Song Ci stopped in his tracks. He could sense the bloody elation in the maiden’s eyes. He muttered. “She who has come, comes with ill intent.”
Feng Zhuojun did not respond to his words. Song Ci looked over to him, but Feng Zhuojun had disappeared. His stern voice rang out in Song Ci’s ears. “Song Ci, listen carefully. That’s the little princess called Ze Chen from the Phoenix Divine Clan. She advocates using violence to solve everything and loves to engage in combat. Don’t cross swords with her head-on.”
Song Ci moved his heel to take half a step back and turned around to make his escape. But someone had come up behind him while he was unaware. Like Ze Chen, the man was riding a black horse. His golden eyes looked down arrogantly at Song Ci. An enraged Yan Bei sat before him. Although they did not resemble each other, their golden eyes were identical.
Song Ci recognized the man as the golden-eyed man who had dragged him into the Yin Yang Time Reversal Array. Seeing him now made Song Ci’s knees go weak as if there was a formless, intimidating aura emitting from him.
“That’s the uncle of the Divine Lord Yan Bei. He’s also the future Lord of all the Six Realms—His Majesty, the Divine Emperor. Despite my advice, you still…” Before Feng Zhuojun’s words could finish his words, Song Ci had already switched direction.
He had instinctively sensed the oppressiveness in Yan Song’s blood.
But just as he turned around, he froze.
Rong Bai sat on the black horse before him. He was dressed in golden clothes with a white inner garment.3 His long, snow-colored hair was draped over his golden clothes, with a black wooden hairpin securing a part of his hair. A gust of wind blew behind him, sending strands of his hair dancing against the sides of his face. It also brought the scent of his blood right to Song Ci’s nose.
A familiar scent. An unfamiliar Rong Bai.
Rong Bai sat upright and dragged back the string of a black bow. One of his azure eyes was narrowed as if he was aiming at Song Ci. The sharp arrow remained propped against the bow, poised for action.
When he saw Song Ci looking at him, a chilling smile appeared on his stunning face. It was so charming it was near deadly.
Song Ci gawked at him. The heart that had been beating at a steady pace instantly began to thump wildly and frenziedly.
Song Ci did not know whether it was because of the threat to his life before him or if it was because of this Rong Bai.
“That’s…” Feng Zhuojun stopped midway. “Well, there’s no need for me to introduce him. I told you not to provoke the Divine Lord Yan Bei, but you wouldn’t listen. Now your ‘more exciting’ part is here.”
Three of them formed a triangle to surround Song Ci. When he stayed rigid and motionless, everything else remained relatively still. Only the wind increased in intensity.
The wind stirred up Rong Bai’s snow-white hair, sending them all over the body of the black bow until it looked as if it was covered with strange patterns. After a short pause, Rong Bai loosened the fingers he used to pull the bow. Light blue light swirled around the black arrow as it went hurtling towards Song Ci.
The distance between them was not far, and the speed of the black arrow was astonishingly fast. Yet, Song Ci remained motionless as if he did not have the slightest intention to dodge.
Feng Zhuojun cried out anxiously. “Evade it quickly!”
Song Ci turned a deaf ear to him. He lowered his gaze, then abruptly extended his right hand to face the approaching arrow. Just as the arrow was about to strike his palm, a fleeting layer of blue washed over his black eyes. Song Ci waved his hand to the side. And so, a scene that left everyone flabbergasted appeared.
As if being commanded by Song Ci, that black arrow suddenly changed direction and flew toward Ze Chen. Ze Chen tilted her head slightly and dodged it with ease.
Rong Bai’s smile froze as he put down the bow in his hand. He stared at Song Ci with a tinge of curiosity in his eyes.
Song Ci’s heart pounded so hard it was about to burst out of his chest, but he pretended to be calm on the surface. He knew he could already control Du’e. Although he had not reached the point where he could be considered proficient, this kind of simple command was more than enough.
He could not help feeling a little proud of himself, so he raised his eyes and smiled at Rong Bai, revealing a little of his white teeth.
What he did not know was that, in the eyes of the other four people at the scene, his smile carried the undertones of a provocation.
Credits: Many thanks to saed (@saedee_) for the correction! ♥