Selene still refused to absorb her parents. She was confused and desperate. She knew that by absorbing her father, his corpse would wither up till there’s nothing left. How could she possibly bear to look at such a sight. Likewise, she could not withstand her mother’s plea. How could a young girl possibly seek harm for her own parents?
Selene looked towards Shi Yan, asking for his help. Her mother noticed Selene’s gaze and release herself from Selene. “forget it Selene, you don’t have to do anything…” she looked down towards her deceased husband and muttered to herself, “I’ll make sure we can both rest in peace my love”.
Although Selene’s mother still wished for Selene to absorb her husband, she did not wish to implicate Shi Yan. She was aware that her daughter had a special relationship with the boy. He was much closer to a family member than a friend. Even so, he was unrelated to the mother and daughter pair. There was no need to burden this youngster anymore than necessary. She closed her eyes, wiped her tears and spoke to Selene. “darling, forget what I’ve said alright?”.
Selene stared at her mother with wide eyes and quickly nodded “em!”. The woman stood up and took the cloak underneath her husband. Although her actions would expose the mutilated body to Selene, she no longer took heed. Rather, she actually wanted Selene to get used to such sights. She took the cloak and passed it onto Shi Yan. “boy, it must have been troublesome for you…” she bowed down and spoke in a soft voice. “I’m sorry but this senior might have to trouble you further”. She turned back to her elated daughter to coax her.
Shi Yan’s eyebrows raised. He sensed that something was not right.[How is it possible for this woman to give up so easily? No impossible. Absolutely impossible. She already said herself, absorbing their corpses would be their last wish. If so, then why would she give up so easily? And what was with her last statement?]
The little tiger had just finished eating. She ate more than 3 times of Shi Yan’s portion but spent the bulk of her time removing the straw wrappings mixed with her food. Reina ran towards her big sister, Shi Yin, to play. Shi Yin naturally did not leave Shi Yan’s side but did not refuse to play. After all, she had an agreement with Reina.
“eyahh” Shi Yin cried out, telling Reina to only play around Shi Yan. Of course, the little tiger happily accepted. She was pleased enough to play with Shi Yin. Location did not matter to her.
The two decided to play follow me, whereby Shi Yin would do a series of actions and Reina will follow.
Shi Yan did not get involved with the two. He knew that Reina did not fancy him coming close. Instead, he moved towards the mother-daughter pair and sat at a corner close to them.
Selene was happy to see her brother so close to her but, that was not the case for her mother. Selene’s mother had a strange look on her face. She obviously knew what Shi Yan was thinking. She thought to herself.[This boy is rather sharp for his age. Although I only gave him a small hint, he was able to sense something was amiss… However, I’m sorry…]
“Selene, mommy ‘s tired. Can you let me lie down for a moment inside of you?”
Selene opened her mouth and gently held on to her mother. Her mother slowly entered the enclosed world, away from Shi Yan’s sight.
Inside the enclosed world, Selene’s mother laid on the soft grass patch beside Selene. “mommy is going to sleep for awhile. Don’t worry alright”. She reached out for Selene’s cheeks to caress them. Her hand gracefully fell onto Selene’s hand, holding it as she fell asleep.
In actuality, she was leaving behind a will inside of her. Using some of her reminding blood essence, she formed a rune inside of her body (enclosed world). Once this rune was absorbed, her current thoughts would be played to Selene.
[Selene, my darling. I’m so sorry to have to put you through all of this. Please, forgive mommy when this is all over. The day you were born till now, not a day goes by without us worrying for you.
Our kind is different from other normal demonic beasts or plants. We are a kind that absorbs our own to strengthen ourselves. Dark Dimensional Tree is only one variant out of the many. Unfortunately, out of all the variants, we are the ones that others hunt down the most. To ensure that I was able to birth you in peace, your father bought me here to hide.
Since you were born, you were everything to us. Not a day went by that I couldn’t help but smile. You were always so fun to be with. Your smile always made us feel so refreshed. However, whenever we see you, we always felt a lingering fear. We know that our days will not last forever. That we would get found out one day.
In the end, we are forced to separate. but darling, please don’t grief. Your mommy and daddy will truly always be with you. It’s just that from now on, we will forever be inside you. Some of our memories and strength will be with you.
After you’ve absorbed us, please. Do not blame yourself.
I was so worried that you would be alone but your meeting with this boy released me from my worries. For him to care for you to the extent of risking his life to enter that cave to look for us… It shows how much he cares for you. There is also, your dependence on him, which is shown as clear as day. I’m not sure if you two will bloom together but I wish to see that day.
Darling, could you also help me to apologise to that little boy? It is truly irresponsible for me to push everything to him. But I know that he will take care of you, regardless whether I ask him too or not. For that, he has my eternal gratitude…
Darling, I wish to be you longer. I wish to be able to see your children but I know… I’m not going to last. I know that I have repeated this line many times but Darling… I love you.”
~ Back inside the chamber,
Shi Yan’s brow wrinkled. He could tell that Selene’s mother purposely wanted to be out of his sights. He had a bad premonition but knew that he could nothing to stop it. He saw that Selene’s skull-like face was still smiling and decided to focus on resting for now.
With only one day’s worth of rest, he needed to prioritise his wounds. The swelling from before had healed up considerably but he was still far from his optimal condition. Shi Yan looked around the chamber for any sort of medication but could not find anything that he could use. He looked on his body, to only find the runic book, a blood-stained cloak, a dented dagger and the golden pendant. He looked at the pendant and thought of an idea.
Taking off his pants, he attracted the attention of Shi Yin. She obviously tried to stop him but he did not relent. He had no reason to. He wore the bloodied cloak to hide his body and placed the silk-woven pants on his abdomen. Taking off his pendant, he began to rub on his abdomen. This was a method to force blood circulation within the swelled up regions. Shi Yan would normally avoid this method because of the pain. However, currently he had no other options.
Shi Yin saw Shi Yan’s clamped up face and began to get worried. She knew that Shi Yan would not mind her being inside the cloak with him makes. However, just the thought of it made the little fox blush with embarrassment.
After an hour, Shi Yan switched positions but was unable to apply pressure on his back. He tried to lean against the wall and move his body in a circular motion but, the pendant would fall off before completing a full rotation. He had no choice but to ask for the assistance of Shi Yin. He knew that Shi Yin disliked being with him when he was fully nude. Even when they bathing, Shi Yan still wore his pants. After the bath, he would squeeze the water out of his pants and continued on.
Shi Yin who watched Shi Yan rubbing his back against the wall was staring at the boy with a confused look. She was not able to comprehend Shi Yan’s actions. When Shi Yan stopped rubbing his back against the wall, he walked towards Shi Yin. He took out the pendant covered with his pants out of his cloak to show to Shi Yin. Naturally, Shi Yin closed her eyes when Shi Yan’s cloak slightly lifted up. It took a moment before she was willing to open her eyes again.
Once she saw the object, she immediately realised what Shi Yan was doing this whole time. When she realise what Shi Yan was asking her to do, she immediately gave a nod.
Shi Yin gave a “Eeeyah!”, ordering Reina to move away and not look. This act of close contact was something Shi Yin wanted to do alone with Shi Yan.
Reina gave an unwilling cry “rawr” but still obeyed Shi Yin’s instructions. She moved away with her head down sulking.
Shi Yan knew that he had to wash the blood off the cloak. Using the spare water he had received, he poured it on to the cloak. Immediately, the water slid down with the blood, fully cleaning the cloak.
Currently, the cloak was not in its invisible state as he expected. He initially thought that any blood contact would cause the cloak to be invisible but this was not the case. He had not confirmed if Shi Yin’s blood could activate the cloak but, at least he knew that not all blood could activate the cloak. This surprising find not only startled Shi Yan, it also startled Shi Yin. Since the cloak was covered in blood, they could not tell if it was invisible or not. She had held the same expectations as Shi Yan and closed her eyes when he tried to wash the blood off.
She wanted to bite herself to personally test her blood but hesitated without Shi Yan’s permission.
Shi Yan looked at Shi Yin and smiled. He passed the pendant to Shi Yin and laid down on the floor, away from the blood.
During the one hour of massage, Shi Yan clenched his teeth to bear the pain. He did not want Shi Yin to be distracted by him. She would hold the pendant in her mouth and rub with all her might. She understood that due to her small stature, if she did not use her full strength, Shi Yan’s body would not receive sufficient pressure to circulate his blood.
When the massage was over, Shi Yin was already exhausted. She laid down on Shi Yan’s back and closed her eyes. Shi Yan did not move an inch from his position. Once he felt that the little fox had laid down on his back, he immediately understood that she had fallen asleep. Although he had the urge to hug and kiss her, he could not hear to disturb her slumber. This, he decided to bear this uncomfortable position and sleep.
~ Back into the dream realm
“ugh”, Shi Yan could feel his back ache as he appeared in front of Byakko again.
“Boy… it seems that you’ve had a rough sleep”. Byakko smirked.
“Not too bad I suppose… besides, I got some good news to tell you”. Shi Yan spoke while stretching himself.
Byakko’s wide ears sprang up. Like a radar, they faced Shi Yan, listening attentively. “well, are you just going to keep quiet about it? Spit it out!”
Shi Yan gave a huge overwhelming sigh, indicating his displeasure, causing Byakko’s mouth to twitch. “don’t be so noisy. Learn from me and be a good listener for once in your life”. Byakko gave a cold snort but did not reply. He knew that Shi Yan was doing this on purpose. “so, the next test will be held in a few hour’s time. It’s about speed, knowledge and awareness. Know anything about it?”.
Byakko pondered for awhile but he could only think of a normal test. The speed of answering questions, the knowledge of the topic and the awareness of the problem. He quickly asked Shi Yan for any further clarification “Is there anything else that Ha… Lumi said?”.
Shi Yan thought to himself for a moment, remembering what Lumi had said. “Something about the test being what it meant to be a true successor. Also, he apologised for not being able to help any further”.
Byakko’s face became darker, his eyebrows wrinkled. [Did his brother found out? No, that’s not possible… If that man truly found out about me, He would have forcibly remove my core and continue on with the test. So what happened? An accident? Must be. Either ways, as long as I’ve not been found out, everything should work out fine.] [What it means to be a successor? That are many different types. Although I know Hati for a long time, I do not know about his brother that well. Never got along with that bastard. There were many rumors relating that man… However, one thing I know for sure is that he’s definitely one of the most wanted person in any of the realms… What does it mean to be his successor? I’m sure that only they know. I thought this was going to be easy but it seems that I have underestimated that man.]
Byakko looked at Shi Yan without an answer. It was humiliating that a Legendary Demonic Beast like himself could not even help an uncultivated child. Byakko reluctantly shook his head, “I’m sorry but I don’t know much about the next test as well. If you found something, maybe you could tell me… I’d probably help…”.
Shi Yan did not expect much from Byakko in the first place. From the start, Byakko was reluctant to help him. When Byakko changed his mind, Shi Yan did not receive a single bit of information relating to the trial. Instead, he got to know more about Byakko’s current situation as compared to the trial itself.
Shi Yan gave a cold response “Oh, alright. I’ll ask you when I found something out”.
Byakko held his head in shame. He could not respond to Shi Yan. He was previously bragging about helping Shi Yan pass the test. Now that he thought about his past remarks, it was as though he slapped himself on the face. Complete and utter humiliating himself.
Since he could not aid Shi Yan with information, Byakko thought to himself. Maybe I can lend some of my strength when he needs it. However, he soon came to the realisation that he can’t even perceive Shi Yan’s current situation. All of his current awareness was from the little boy’s mouth. He was currently absolutely useless to Shi Yan.
Shi Yan looked at Byakko’s depressed expression. Although he disliked the tiger, he did not hate him. Byakko was not an evil person. He also has not done any real harm to Shi Yan or Shi Yin. As for Selene’s case, Byakko never really intended to harm the little girl. The poor girl was someone who was unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire of his battle with the ape. It was simply Byakko’s fortune that Selene’s mother was at least able to survive.
Shi Yan let out a sigh. He thought to himself, [Maybe I was being too kind…] In an audible voice, lacking much emotions, he spoke. “Selene’s mother is currently alive. Although she still has one week to live, she’s spending her last moments with her daughter”.
Shi Yan turned around, about to leave but was stopped by Byakko. “Wait!” Byakko shouted. His piercing gaze looked at Shi Yan “I may not help you in this test but let me give you some advice. Do not try to interfere with anything that she plans to do. That woman is much too kind… If her husband is not there with her right now, I really doubt that she can handle this situation alone.”
Shi Yan did not understand what Byakko was saying. However, he soon felt that something on his back was moving. He knew that he did not have much time before he was about to be woken up. Quickly, he shouted, “What do…”. Before he could complete his sentence, the dark portal already opened up and swallowed him.
Byakko let out a gentle smile. [It seems that this kid more soft-hearted than I thought… I thought that he would blame me for what I had done but it seems as though he forgiven me. Else, I’d probably have a much harder time dealing with him…]
The gigantic white tiger let out a soft sigh as his vision turned blurry, entering his own thoughts. [Sena, I’m not sure what you are going to do to convince that daughter of yours but just don’t be stupid… If you have to force yourself, just stop…]