Yun Che didn’t say a word. He quietly watched He Ling’s face while feeling her change in emotion and aura, every bit of it.
She had led a refugee’s life since birth, and lost her parents as a child. As if destitution and homelessness weren’t enough, she had lost even her last family in the world before she ever got to meet him.
The collapse and pain when she had heard the news… the despair when she had thought that the murderer was the Brahma Monarch Realm… the sacrifice and rebirth as a poison spirit for revenge… the loss of control when she had poisoned the Brahma Monarch God Realm… and the devastation when she learned that she had wronged them...
They hadn’t separated for even a moment for the past couple years. She was there when Yun Che experienced his ups and downs. He was there when she struggled to cope.
And finally… finally, it was time to fulfill his promise to her.
He Ling stared blankly at the sorry-looking Sea God beneath her. Her aura was chaotic, her chest was heaving, and her lips trembled with the urge to scream or curse Nan Qianqiu.
For some reason, she couldn’t find the voice to do any of that, not even after a long time had passed. All she could do was cry and recall the nightmarish memories that had plagued her to this day.
A frown suddenly appeared on Yun Che’s face. It was because he saw an unnatural sheen of gray accumulating in He Ling’s jade green eyes all of a sudden.
It was the same as the day she had heard of He Lin’s death.
Suddenly, He Ling pointed a finger at Nan Qianqiu and loosed a wisp of poisonous aura. It hit the prince squarely in the glabella.
He Ling had used up all of the Sky Poison Pearl’s poison energy when she lost control and poisoned the Brahma Monarch God Realm back then, and she had only managed to restore a tiny portion of its power since. Even so, it was far beyond Nan Qianqiu’s current ability to endure.
Nan Qianqiu screamed his pain. The sky poison felt like a million snakes tearing and biting away at his body. Then, he suddenly recalled Yun Che’s strange question about the slaughter of the wood spirits some time ago.
Could it be… it was all… for some worthless… wood spirits…?!
He Ling’s palm shook, and her fingers turned whiter. The poison caused Nan Qianqiu to writhe in pain, and his blood to turn green in color.
“Ahh… ahhhh…” It was the same poison that had driven the great Brahma Monarch Realm to a dead end. If hell existed, then Nan Qianqiu was suffering at its worst floor right now. “You… you will… the Dragon Gods… ah…”
Physically and mentally, this whole day had been absolute torture for Nan Qianqiu. As the sky poison spread through his entire body, his hoarse screams and struggles weakened, and his eyes became dyed in deadly green. Even his aura was dissipating at an extraordinary speed.
Right when it looked like Nan Qianqiu was about to die, He Ling suddenly trembled and clenched her hand into a fist. Not only did she stop the sky poison from consuming his body, she even purified it completely.
The sudden release caused Nan Qianqiu to slump on the ground, unmoving. The occasional spasm was all reflexive and involuntary.
He Ling hadn’t suddenly grown a heart for Nan Qianqiu, of course. She just had so, so, so much hatred still to impart… hatred born from her family’s death, hatred born from her kinsmen’s deaths, hatred from the genocide of her entire lineage… she couldn’t let him die even after he had suffered all the pain and despair there was to suffer in this world.
Unfortunately, she was no Qianye Ying’er. She had no idea how to torture a person she hated to the bone to the point he wished he was dead. Worse, the infinite hatred she had been accumulating was threatening to implode her very soul from within.
“You… you…” The gray in her eyes suddenly gathered into a single dot. Then, fingers curled into the shape of talons, she made a grab for Nan Qianqiu’s throat as if she wanted to tear him to pieces with her bare hands. It was as if it was the only way to vent her boundless hatred.
But she didn’t manage to touch him. Yun Che had caught her ice cold wrist gently with one hand and waved at Nan Qianqiu with the other.
The next moment, a crimson flame dyed by black energy erupted from Nan Qianqiu’s body.
The prince was fully exhausted and near death, but the sheer pain inflicted by the Devil Flames of Eternal Calamity still caused him to scream at the top of his lungs. It took only the blink of an eye for his person to be consumed by the nightmarish flames, and only a few breaths for the horrible screams to completely die off.
The flames that could devour everything devoured the Divine Master bit by bit until finally… Nan Qianqiu, the young master of Southern Sea Realm, the crown prince who had just the height of his dreams dissolved into dry gray ashes. All that was left was a masterless origin power of the Southern Sea.
He Ling felt no joy despite having watched the person she devoted her entire life to hate scatter into ashes before her eyes. She was just standing there, dazed and uncertain.
A very long time later, she turned her head toward Yun Che and stared at him with murky, lightless eyes. “Why… why did you kill him… why didn’t you let me take revenge myself… why… why…”
Her breath was chaotic. Her empty eyes looked like it was missing a soul.
This was the first time ever she directed any negative emotion toward Yun Che… and it was resentment of the chaotic, unstable kind.
Yun Che didn’t answer immediately. Instead, he gave her ice cold hand a pull and hugged her tightly.
“Listen to me, He Ling.” Yun Che pressed his palm to the back of her hand and spoke to her in the gentlest voice he could muster. “We would never have found the culprit and executed him before our eyes without your sacrifice and obsession. You’ve taken revenge for your parents, He Lin, and your clan, and I am sure they’ve witnessed everything from the other side.”
“The reason I didn’t allow you to kill him is simple. It’s because his filthy body and blood isn’t worthy of your fingers, much less… your soul.”
“...” He Ling’s lips parted a little. Her trembling weakened, and the grayness in her eyes faded slightly.
Yun Che closed his eyes before continuing in a wistful voice, “He Ling, you are free to obsess over vengeance as you like, but you must never push yourself into the abyss of no return, understand? You must never…”
Become like me.
This sin was his and his alone to bear. He wasn’t even done yet, and the amount of blood and sin coating his hands could no longer be washed clean.
“We are one since the day you became the sky poison spirit, and I am the worst devil in the entire world right now. But even the purest devil still desires light, and right now, you are the purest ray of light in my life. I cannot possibly allow you to be tainted, much less stripped away from me, can I?”
“...” He Ling looked shocked. Her trembling had ceased completely.
“So I ask you. Are you willing… to become the final sanctuary in my heart… He Ling?”
He might have felled himself into the darkest abyss, but he had never forgotten He Lin’s final wish and tears.
He might forever be stuck in darkness, but he would always protect He Ling’s heart no matter what.
The world grew quiet, and the air no longer stirred with restlessness. Even the ashes of Nan Qianqiu had scattered into nothingness before they knew it.
“Mn.” He Ling nodded into Yun Che’s chest, the familiar gentleness and timidness returning to her voice.
The grayness faded completely when he saw her eyes again. All that was left was a pure green that even the breeze didn’t dare to sully.
I thought vengeance was the only thing I had left in my life, but I was wrong. He needs me more than I can ever imagine...
Yun Che cupped He Ling’s face with both hands, stared into her misty eyes and gave her a smile. “You are the pride of the wood spirit race, He Ling. I’m sure your family and clansmen are proud of what you did and are finally at peace now.”
“As for me, I’ve fulfilled my promise to you back then, but well, I don’t feel like letting you go anymore. I’ll always stick by your side even if you grow tired of me one day.”
He Ling whispered back, “I will never leave you. No matter what you turn into, no matter where you go… I will never leave you.”
Her words were soft, but her promise was for eternity.
Touched, Yun Che stared into the wood spirit’s eyes again and made his second promise to her, “We have many, many greater things to do besides revenge. For one, when I become the ruler of this world, I will elevate the wood spirit race into the most respectable race in the world. Anyone who dares to harm them will suffer the worst punishment imaginable!”
“The world already owes the wood spirit race too much, so no amount of compensation can be considered excessive. Besides…” Yun Che suddenly grinned cheekily while caressing He Ling’s cheeks, “Our children will be wood spirits, no, royal wood spirits, and it’s only natural that I destroy anyone who dares to lay a finger on them, right?”
A shade of pink instantly spread from He Ling’s cheeks all the way to her neck. She bowed her head in a hurry while whining, “I… you… you’re such a…”
The panicking girl could barely form a coherent word at the tease, but the hatred that nearly sundered her soul a moment ago was long gone. In fact, the desire for vengeance she had engraved into her very soul had slowly but surely blurred into Yun Che’s image instead.
She didn’t realize that she had greater, more important things to do in this world until Yun Che reminded her. Yes, rather than putting herself in the abyss of vengeance, she could stay by his side and care for him. It was something worth looking forward to, even if...
Western Divine Region, Dragon God Realm.
In the Dragon God Sacred Hall, the Azure Dragon God, Pure Dragon God, White Rainbow Dragon God, Jade Dragon God, Cyan Abyss Dragon God, Purple River Dragon God, and the Sky Dragon God… everyone except Crimson Destruction Dragon God, who had traveled to the God Realm of Absolute Beginning, and the dead Ash Dragon God were gathered in one place. The atmosphere was so solemn that it was scary.
They were shocked and furious when they learned of Ash Dragon God’s death, but another emotion filled their hearts when more news arrived from the Southern Divine Region.
Fear. It was a most unfamiliar feeling to a Dragon God.
“The Southern Sea Realm was destroyed… in one day?”
Azure Dragon God must’ve repeated this question at least a dozen of times already, but he still could not—would not—believe it.
The demise of the Sea Kings and the Sea Gods, the death of Nan Wansheng, the death of Nan Guizhong, the return of the two ancestors of the Brahma God Realm and their choice to stand with the Northern Divine Region, and the even more bizarre emergence of the Dragons of Absolute Beginning...
It was all news the dragon god race couldn’t help but be shocked by, and it came in succession within the span of mere hours.
The Dragon God Realm hadn’t thought of the Northern Divine Region as a real threat even when they had destroyed the Eastern Divine Region in mere months.
That opinion had changed completely in one night.
The Northern Divine Region had surpassed all expectations before this, but the latest news made those successes seemed like a smokescreen.
There was another special guest in the hall besides the seven Dragon Gods.
He was Zhou Xuzi.
Zhou Xuzi looked like he had aged decades in just a couple of months, but he was also much calmer than he was before. Moreover, his old eyes were shining with something that was never present in his former self.