Chapter 198: The Blue Sky
Deng Wu let Little Dragon stay in control as they rushed up the Stairs of Hope, all of them running to once more see the rays of the sun; to see the endless skies and the heavens above.
Although they all missed the endless sky and despite Xu Piao wishing to see what it was like, none of the members of the group were feeling particularly thrilled or happy at the moment.
Xie Lan died as she jumped in front of Xu Piao, saving his life at the last moment. All of them left behind Hui Yue within the dark caves, and none of them knew how he would manage to escape, but none of them truly felt that their friend would die.
Each step they took on the stairs felt heavy, feeling as though they were missing something important. Only Wang Ju Long seemed to have steeled her determination. She grit her teeth as she put power behind her steps, rushing so fast that she even overtook Deng Wu.
“Don’t slow down!” She yelled at the friends that were behind her, “Yue said that he would meet up with us at the capital. He gave us an important task with the Laws. How will we accomplish this if we keep on like this?” She asked her temper fuming. She too felt miserable for having left Hui Yue behind, however, she understood that there truly had been no other option available for them.
Hearing what she said everyone nodded their heads, everyone apart from Xu Piao whose eyes were still red. He felt sadness from deep within, however, he too understood that right now was not the time to be wallowing in sadness, nor pity. The world was such that only the strong survive. The fact that Xie Lan died was proof that she had met a stronger foe, that was the world. Today alone, Xie Lan also killed many cultivators, that she too laid down her life was nothing to be truly surprised about.
Ascending the stairs took what felt like forever, and after half a day the group of four finally made their way up the stairs. All four just stood there staring at the beautiful blue sky high above them. Looking at the sky it was around noon. All of them were gaping at the blue summer sky, slack-jawed as they looked around them, only to find that they were right next to a massive castle.
All of them had rapidly beating hearts, their eyes reflected the blue sky from above. Xu Piao felt as though he was in another world, and he became dazed while the friends who finally returned home turned ecstatic. This was a completely different feeling than constantly having a roof above them, they could let go of the feeling of being held prisoner.
Although they lost Xie Lan and left behind Hui Yue, the group felt the fresh air around them, and they were unable to not stop and savor the crisp air. Looking at the massive castle to the side,
“This should be Center Castle,” Deng Wu said as an uncomfortable feeling filled him; a feeling which he got from Little Dragon.
“I think we need to leave,” Deng Wu said with a quiet voice. Everyone nodded, as they started looking around for a road which led away.
There were numerous roads and without thinking, the group quickly picked one close by and started to descend from the mountain range in which the center palace was located.
The road they picked led them to a small forest. They soon left the road and started looking for a location where they could do exactly what Hui Yue had asked of them. The sooner they managed to deal with it, the sooner they could return to the capital and wait for Hui Yue, who had promised to arrive there.
Within the mountains, the group found a forest which seemed to be devoid of life. No matter how much they traveled, no sign of life was visible. The only creatures they saw on their way were magical beasts, beasts which Xu Piao had never seen before. However, the young man was not energetic nor happy enough to observe all the wonders of the upper world. What filled his mind was grief and sadness after having lost Xie Lan.
The magical beasts around them were all around the Master rank, and the group of cultivators were more than capable of protecting themselves as they made their way through the forest until they finally found a large clearing. A clearing where the ground was covered with grass and flowers. A small river was running through it, and it had carved its way through the ground slowly eroding the banks and growing in size.
On this blanket of grass and flowers, Wang Ju Long and Sha Yun picked up their memory stones after which they placed down one Law after another. All of whom were still in a deep slumber.
These Laws were impossible to wake up with the strength the girls possessed so, instead, they attentively watched over them both day and night. Minute after minute went by slowly, but the two girls were filled with determination to ensure that the task they were given by Hui Yue was seen through to the end.
While the two girls were busy watching over and taking care of the laws, Xu Piao paid no attention towards these actions of the youngsters, instead, he found a place within the clearing where he put down Xie Lan and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead. He then wielded Wu Wei and dug a deep grave.
Xu Piao kept talking to Xie Lan as though she could hear him. He spoke about how they had met each other when they were children and about the mischief they caused as kids.
He spoke about how they had grown up, always been by each other’s side, and how they had gone to school, relying on no one other than themselves.
The story continued as his trembling voice spoke about how they arrived at the mercenary company and together fought their way to the ranks of Guild Master. How no matter which task it was, Xie Lan had always been by his side, the woman never complaining only assisting.
Eventually, Xu Piao apologized to the silent Xie Lan, apologized that he had not listened to her. That although he was now in the world above, the endless sky was meaningless now that she was no longer by his side.
At this point determination appeared in his eyes and he slapped himself hard.
“I know that you would scold me, where you still here.” He said with tears welling up in his eyes, “I will now live the life you gave me, and I will never forget that this life belongs to you. Stay in the netherworld and one day I’ll come to you. Hopefully, we can both be reincarnated together.”
Having said this, Xu Piao laid down Xie Lan ever so gently within the grave. Then he moved the ground over her as he buried his best friend. Using his strength he found a boulder which he placed upon the grave. Using Wu Wei, he managed to cut a beautiful figurine on which the words “Never forgotten and always loved,” were etched.
After having buried Xie Lan, Xu Piao stayed in front of her grave for countless days and nights, keeping vigil, ensuring that no one could harm her final memory.
While Xu Piao was busy keeping vigil, Sha Yun, Deng Wu, and Wang Ju Long were keeping watch over the Laws. One law after another woke up, and their eyes were filled with shock and astonishment as they saw that they no longer were trapped within a room, but instead were looking at beautiful flowers and trees.
Each and every one of these Laws were told what happened, and each and every one of them were allowed to start their new life. They were allowed to visit places they had never seen before and travel throughout the entire world where their powers changed the lives of every creature and plant alive.
One after another these Laws set out into the world. Their eyes were filled with excitement and gratitude, and each law formed their own goals for their life.
Finally, the last Law awoke and set off into the distance. Four days passed this way. Within these four days, Xu Piao had not moved an inch, however, now that none of the Laws were left the previous Guild Master stood up, his eyes filled with determination.
“We are going to the capital to wait for Hui Yue right?” Xu Piao asked. The three people in front of him all nodded in unison. Seeing this, Xu Piao nodded his head, and with one last glance at the grave he one more bowed deeply towards the carved stone. Xu Piao turned around and followed behind the three youngsters as they left the forest and started to descend down the mountain range.
While the friends were following Hui Yue’s advice and helping the Laws regain their freedom, the young white-haired man was rushing through the Dragon Corps headquarters.
There was panic everywhere. There was no longer any high ranked guards within the entire cave, and many mercenaries were using this to their advantage. They were stealing and trashing everything in the city. The experts of the various prominent families had to step in, and everyone was astonished wondering where the commander and the Dragon Corps were.
During this chaos, Hui Yue made his way through the main office of the Dragon Corps. He watched low ranked experts running from one side of the building to the other looking for experts or anyone who knew where the experts might be.
Completely ignoring them, Hui Yue rushed forward, rushing towards a place he knew all too well. He was headed towards the place where one could enter the other tunnels. His aim was to reach the tunnel which led towards Shenyuan; led towards Lan Feng’s old home.
Arriving at the tunnel, no one dared stop Hui Yue when he showed his A rank emblem. Without looking behind, Hui Yue rushed through the entrance towards the tunnel-system which led to the tunnels below Shenyuan; the tunnels which led to Lan Feng’s father.
The tunnel-system which Hui Yue entered was in many ways similar to that of the Dragon Tunnels, however, it was not exactly the same. The Vermilion Bird Tunnels did not have a corps like the Dragon Corps, instead, it was controlled by a royal family which overlooked the entire tunnel-system. Every cave within the system was considered a fiefdom, looked after by Dukes.
The Royal Kingdom of the Vermillion Bird was the official name of the tunnel-system, and the royal guards were all dressed in red cloaks. They were visible within every cave of the kingdom.
The Royal Kingdom of the Vermillion Bird was beautiful and well looked after. One of the caves was a whole sea that had small islands. A sea one traveled through on boats.
There were caves in which the sun never rose, and others were there was no moon. There were caves filled with forests where the inhabitants would hunt and sell the wild game for money.
There were caves where the entire area was used for agriculture and others which were filled with cities and earned their money from merchants.
Although mercenaries did exist within these caves, not many were seen. Those who were, lived their lives within the tunnels hunting down demon beasts.
Hui Yue journeyed through one cave after another, within him was Lan Feng and the two, man and divine beast, kept a low profile as they traveled. They hunted in every tunnel they went through and eventually he reached the final cave in the system.
‘Follow my guidelines,’ Lan Feng said with a sigh. The two of them had traveled constantly for one year as the only thing on their mind was to get through the tunnels as quickly as they could. Hui Yue’s heart started beating erratically, he was excited upon hearing what Lan Feng said because it meant that they would finally be able to view the endless sky once more. To head back to the capital where his friends were waiting.
Following Lan Feng’s orders, Hui Yue stood in front of a wall and closed his eyes as he placed his hands on the wall. This created a suction force, which then sucked in Hui Yue. He once more found himself in an entirely empty tunnel. A tunnel much like the one they used when they first entered the tunnels. Eagerness appeared as he rushed towards the entrance, rush towards the light at the end of the tunnel.