“Sister Caili.” He wiped away the phantasmal recollections in his mind and took a step forward with a smile on his face. “Father brought me today because he and the Heart Painter Divine Regent have something to discuss.”
Traces of embarrassment could be detected in both his smile and his voice.
He had met her so many times already, and yet it felt as if he could never be fully confident in front of her even though he was a Divine Son.
The number one Divine Son no less.
He would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy it though. In fact, everyone should strive to find the special someone who made them feel this way.
The girl blinked like the winking of night stars. “If your Father came over himself, it could only be about the other world, right?”
“Mm!” Dian Jiuzhi nodded smilingly while responding in the warmest, gentlest voice he could muster, “The passage has been opened once more, and this time, an Abyssal Knight who’s part of the pioneering team has successfully set foot in that world.”
“We’ve already confirmed the ‘direction’. In fifty years, we should be able to gather enough energy to penetrate the passage once more. Then, the Abyssal Monarch, the High Priests, and most likely our Fathers will venture into that world together.”
Dian Jiuzhi looked up as a hint of yearning flashed across his eyes. “The world known as the ‘Eternal Pure Land’.”
He lowered his gaze and smiled again. “This matter should not be disclosed because it would lead to instability in the Dusty World. At present, everyone I mentioned and the two of us are the only ones who know of this. Make sure you don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”
“I know. Father already told me about it,” she replied with a faint smile of her own. However, a bit of hesitation suddenly entered her eyes as she said, “The Eternal Pure Land is eternally pure, right? It must be a very beautiful and peaceful world then. Wouldn’t our appearance… disturb their peace?”
“Of course it will.” Dian Jiuzhi did not deny it. He knew that her heart was as pure as her eyes. She was also the only Divine Daughter who would ask such a question. “However, we live in a world where the weak are prey for the strong, and survival of the fittest is the law. Just as they have the choice to resist to defend their honor or submit to us to survive, we too have the choice to ‘disturb’ them to lead a better life, or remain where we are and languish for eternity.”
“It has nothing to do with right or wrong, good or evil.”
“If someone, or rather, something must be blamed for this unfairness, then weakness is the only original sin.”
Realizing that he was straying into a rather heavy subject, he immediately put on a smile again and said, “I know what you’re thinking, but you have nothing to worry about, sister Caili. His Majesty is a kind and benevolent monarch who despises bullying and killing above all else. According to Father, His Majesty has mentioned more than once that we must not cause chaos and kill innocent people if we manage to enter the ‘Eternal Pure Land’.”
“Besides…” An odd gleam entered his eyes then. “Let’s not forget that that world originally belonged to us.”
“…” The girl fell into thought, but it only lasted for a second before she said, “Well, whatever. That’s for our Fathers to worry about. Take a look at these Rainbow Cloud Branches, big brother Bighead! They’re beautiful, aren’t they?”
“I wholeheartedly agree,” Dian Jiuzhi echoed, but his eyes had never strayed from the girl for even an instant. “To obtain a single Rainbow Cloud Branch from the Pure Land is already a blessing, but an entire garden? Heart Painter Divine Regent truly dotes on you like no one I’ve ever seen.”
“Father is the best!” The girl declared proudly while holding a few petals in her hands. The rainbow halo reflected off her starry eyes and made them look even prettier than they already were. “It’s called the Rainbow Cloud Branch, and both our names share the same word (Rainbow/Cai)! I felt like it bloomed in my heart the very first time I saw it!”
She then held out the petals in Dian Jiuzhi’s direction and asked, “Do you think it is the flower of my destiny, big brother Bighead?”
The rainbow petals were practically right in front of him, but his gaze didn’t stray even an inch from her face. His mind was usually as calm and as unshakeable as an iceberg, but right now he could barely think. Her dreamlike scent was like the most irresistible perfume in the world.
His vision grew blurrier and blurrier as he slowly held an arm toward her hair. However, his hand rotated downward and landed on the flower petals at the last moment.
“It is the Rainbow Cloud Branch’s honor to be so loved by you,” He declared even as his heartbeat grew more and more out of control. “I dare not say if it has the right to become the flower of your destiny, but I am certain that you are its destined one.”
He could not touch her. He was afraid that his touch would sully her purity.
Even if he was the greatest Divine Son. Even if she was the fiance His Majesty had bestowed himself.
As the son of the Boundless Divine Regent, you would think that he had many wives. In fact, his brothers, his nephews, and even his grandnephews all had harems of their own. That was not the case for him though. In fact, he had never had a relationship with another woman despite being the Boundless Divine Son, the highest of all of them.
It was because he would not permit even the slightest taint to his unadulterated affection for her.
Plus, how could he possibly accept another woman into his heart when he already had her?
It was at this moment a cool breeze blew across the sea of flowers.
The moment the breeze touched the girl’s eyelashes, she immediately turned around and exclaimed joyfully, “Aunt!”
A tall, slender woman clad in blue descended from the sky.
The first thing that entered the eye was the blue robes that stretched all the way to her ankles. She had blue hair that looked as soft as water, and the blue sash wrapped around her waist was the only accessory on her person. She did not even have make-up on. Her appearance was as simple as it could be.
She had eyebrows that were shaped like feathers, and skin as fair as snow. Her countenance resembled Hua Caili’s in some ways.
She was as beautiful as a dream, and yet no one dared to look at her for long.
It was because her eyes were as cold as ice.
The sea of Rainbow Cloud Branches abruptly stopped swaying. Even Dian Jiuzhi had lowered his eyes immediately. It was because he felt like a cold sword had pierced right through his soul the moment their gazes met.
“Junior Dian Jiuzhi of the Boundless Kingdom of God greets senior Sword Immortal.”
He bent his back and bowed his head. His posture was no less respectful than when he faced the Heart Painter Divine Regent earlier.
Her name was Hua Qingying, and she was the world-renowned “Sword Immortal”.
In the eyes of the world, she was like a lofty lotus who grew alone in the tallest mountains, or an exiled immortal who lived alone in ancient paintings. Despite being born to a world of abyssal dust, she was untouched by mortal coil and prouder than frost.
She was the living embodiment of the word “Immortal”.
Whenever the people thought of the word, they would always think of the immortal of swords who stood tall and proud among the loftiest clouds.
Hua Caili had no such qualms, however. She pounced on the woman who was too sharp for most people to even lay their eyes on and hugged her tightly. It wasn’t until a long time later before she finally let go.
She glanced at Dian Jiuzhi with eyes that looked like myriad blue waves for an instant before looking away immediately. Then, her cool, clear voice rang beside his ears, “Your advancement is truly incredible. I do not doubt you may surpass me one day.”
“You praise me too much, senior. I wouldn’t dare to compare myself to you.”
Dian Jiuzhi replied humbly in a hurry. He was obviously more reserved around Hua Qingying than the Heart Painter Divine Regent himself.
“Look at this, aunt! It’s my very own Rainbow Cloud Branch garden!”
Hua Caili chirped like a little girl who was all too eager to share a wonderful treasure she just got.
Hua Qingying held Hua Caili’s wrist gently. The cold gleam in her eyes vanished like it was never there as she said, “Your Father brought back a garden of Rainbow Cloud Branches from the Pure Land, while I brought back the sword case you’ve been thirsting for from High Priest  Myriad Ways.”
“Grandpa Wandao? Oh!”
Hua Caili let out an exclamation of pure joy as her eyes suddenly glittered like ten thousand stars.
“It’s in the sword pavilion right now, though I cannot tell which sword it contains since the case hasn’t been opened yet.” Hua Qingying side-eyed Dian Jiuzhi before asking, “Would you like to see it now, or…”
“Of course I would like to see it now!”
Hua Caili grabbed her aunt’s wrist and attempted to teleport immediately. Right before she was about to do so, she recalled Dian Jiuzhi and looked back at him, “Sorry, big brother Bighead, but I would like to open the sword case with aunt right away! Feel free to explore my garden, but make sure you don’t touch the flowers too hard, okay? Hehe!”
“Er, sure! Please, do not hesitate to take your leave. I’m just about to—”
Unfortunately, Hua Caili had already taken off toward the horizon before he could finish.
She had been searching for a sword from the Pure Land for a very long time.
She especially wanted that sword named “Glass Cloud”.
For a very long time, Dian Jiuzhi simply stared at the spot where Hua Caili and Hua Qingying had disappeared. His gaze was a mix of two-thirds delight and one-third disappointment.
Heaven Breaker Sword Pavilion.
A pair of hands that looked as fair as goat milk slowly opened the lid of a sword case.
A pure light immediately illuminated the room and blinded Hua Caili for an instant. When she opened her eyes again, she saw a sword with a glittering white blade and faint mist surrounding it.
Hua Caili pursed her lips and held her breath. She nervously extended her hands into the case and held the sword in her palms.
Her hands were like jade, her sword were like jade, and her heart was like jade as well.
She exhaled a bit of profound energy, and the sword immediately started glowing white.
A name slowly surfaced where the hilt and the blade connected:
She held the Glass Cloud Sword before her chest, the love in her eyes unfading even after a long time. She loved the sword, and she loved its name even more.
“What a coincidence. It is a good fit with you though.” An odd expression entered Hua Qingying’s face. “Of course, it’s possible that old man Wandao did this on purpose. He does adore you very much. I would not be surprised if he made an exception for you.”
Of all the swords in the Pure Land, the one she loved and desired the most was the Glass Cloud Sword.
She had seen it a couple of times, but it was only today she knew of its name.
“Mm! I’ll be sure to thank him in person the next time I visit the Pure Land.”
She ran her fingers across the blade as if she was reluctant to part ways with it. She said with a faint smile on her face, “The Rainbow Cloud Branch, and the Glass Cloud Sword… one of them has my name in it, and they both share…”
“The word ‘Cloud’…”
A strange ripple appeared in her heart as she blurted, “It’s a shame my future husband’s name did not have the word ‘Yun (Cloud)’ in it. It would’ve been… very strange otherwise.”
Despite being the Rainbow Glass Divine Daughter, she possessed a surprising amount of girlish innocence and romanticism.
Frowning slightly, Hua Qingying asked all of a sudden, “Caili, do you… truly like Dian Jiuzhi?”
“Huh?” Hua Caili tilted her head in confusion but replied immediately, “Of course I do.”
“What do you like about him?” Hua Qingying asked while staring into her eyes.
Hua Caili thought for a moment before answering, “He’s… very gentle and good-looking. He’s always treated me well since we were young. He’s also an incredible person who achieved incredible things. It’s why Father always says that there’s no better man for me than him in the entire world.”
“He is the best match with you,” Hua Qingying agreed. “However, if you really like him as much as you say you do, don’t you think you would’ve brought him over to check out your sword together?”
“…?” Hua Caili blinked before asking in confusion, “Is that the appropriate etiquette?”
“It has nothing to do with etiquette whatsoever.” Hua Qingying shook her head. “Do you worry about him when he’s away?”
“…” The girl looked even more confused. “He’s the Divine Son of the Boundless Kingdom of God. No harm would ever befall him, so why on earth would I worry about his safety? In fact, I miss you far more every time you’re away, aunt. Hehe.”
Hua Qingying turned away without answering her question. “Caili, you should enter a short period of seclusion and create rapport with the Glass Cloud Sword.”
“In the meantime, I will meet with your Father.”
“You are here, Qingying,” Hua Fuchen greeted when the Sword Immortal entered the room. He looked so calm and collected you would not think he had just had an important talk and a drinking session with the prestigious Boundless Divine Regent himself.
Instead of inquiring about the two Divine Regents’ business, Hua Qingying said, “I’m going to take Caili to the Dusty World.”
“…” Hua Fuchen shook his head slowly. “No.”
“I’m informing you of my decision, not asking you for your permission.”
The Sword Immortal actually turned around and got ready to leave after saying that.
“I do not wish for Caili to be tainted by the mortal coil.”
Hua Fuchen’s stern voice rang beside her ears. It had been many years since he spoke so seriously. The man let out a sigh before relaxing his tone, “If she hadn’t awoken her divine essence by accident, I would rather she never became a Divine Daughter in the first place. I just want her to lead a safe and carefree life.”
“Is that your excuse to turn her into a caged bird by your own hands?” Hua Qingying said coldly, “Speaking of which, why did you engage her with someone she doesn’t love if you truly wish the best for her?”
“You know love better than anyone in the world. I refuse to believe you didn’t notice that she doesn’t love Dian Jiuzhi at all. She… doesn’t even understand what romantic love is.”
“So? It’s fine the way it is, isn’t it?” He said, but his unfocused gaze suggested that his mind was elsewhere. “The Divine Daughter will marry the best and most suitable man for her. In the future, she will inherit my divine throne and he will inherit his, and together they will rule over all living beings for a lifetime… no harm will ever befall them.”
“Heh!” Hua Qingying chuckled, but her eyes only grew icier. “You are the last person in the world who gets to say that!”
“You may be known as the elegant and peaceful ‘Heart Painter Divine Regent’ these days, but I will never forget the arrogant madman who used to be called the ‘Heaven Breaker Divine Son’!”
“…” A bit of mistiness clouded Hua Fuchen’s eyes as he shook his head. “There are countless trials and tribulations in this world, but none is as soul-rending as love. I do not wish for Caili to experience—”
“It is her life! That is for her to decide!”
The Sword Immortal cut off Hua Fuchen coldly. She was the only woman in the world who would dare. “Caili may be your daughter, but she is her own person before anything else! She is the Rainbow Glass Divine Daughter who will inherit your divine power and the entire Kingdom of God in the future!”
“You may be her father, but even you have no right to shackle her life!”
“Also!” Hua Qingying continued before Hua Fuchen could interrupt her, “Of the five Divine Sons and two Divine Daughters, Caili is the only one who hasn’t reached Divine Extinction Realm yet.”
“The time to visit the Abyssal Monarch is near. You may not care about her cultivation, but you should care for her dignity as a Divine Daughter at least.”
“Besides maturing her as a person, I am hoping to find her the opportunity to achieve a breakthrough. I may even guide her to the Endless Fog.”
Hua Fuchen did not say anything for a long while. Maybe it was because he was still absorbed in sorrowful memories, or maybe it was because he knew he couldn’t change Hua Qingying’s mind.
Hua Qingying left after that, but not before leaving behind a promise:
“Don’t worry, I’ll protect her in secret.”
1. (T/N: this term is originally “Pope”, but now I’m changing it to “High Priest”. It is STILL subject to change though—it could be “Divine Officer”, which just means a divine bureaucrat. After searching through tieba for a bit there are apparently 4 High Priests in total, so obviously it can’t be a Pope. They’re higher than the seven King/Lord/Master of the seven Kingdoms of God, but lower than the Abyssal Monarch. Unfortunately, it’s impossible for me to tell what their exact function is since the background dump hasn’t happened yet, so I am unable to lock down a single term. Much apologies for the confusion) ☜