Shi Yan was waiting for the smoke to clear up. Naturally, it would take a few hours before the smoke cleared. He wanted to get enough rest before going into the battle grounds to check on the deceased. However, in his current state, he would not have much chance of running away, in case any problem arose. The amount of blood he lost was already taking a toll on his body. He knew that he would need at least 2 days of rest before being at full strength again. During these two days, he had already planned to move away from the battle zone, to gather more herbs and rest up.
“*Bang*” a loud sound vibrated throughout the air. Dust clouds produced from its impact. It was coming from behind! Shi Yan did not dare look back. He did not know who it was and obviously had not desire of being caught. Immediately, he dashed forward. He tried to keep his steps as soft as possible but small “*Pak* pak*” sounds could still be heard.
A voice chuckled “Boy, why are you running away? Am I so fearful?”
Shi Yan immediately noticed the voice and breathed a sigh of relief. He turned around and shouted “Damn it Byakko are you trying to scare me to death?”
Byakko snorted and his lips distorted to a smile “Well, didn’t you try to poison me earlier?”.
Shi Yan finally let Shi Yin down and crossed his arms. He knew that the ape was finished if Byakko was fine. There was no need for them to hide anymore, at least there was no need to do so. Byakko could easily discover them even with the cloak activated. “Well, I know you weren’t going to die! You also said it yourself!”
Byakko glared at Shi Yan with a hint of resentment. Although he wouldn’t have died, the poison would have still hurt. In his state, he could not revolve Qi to resist it. However, his eyes turned back to being sarcastic “Boy, do you have no respect for your seniors? Poisoning them?”.
Shi Yan immediately brushed Byakko off. Byakko has invaded Shi Yan’s body and forced him to take care of Reina. If he could not do something so insignificant as just hurting Byakko, where is there justice in this world. “Think of it as a rental fee for being in my body”.
Byakko rolled his eyes. This kid is unbelievable! Rental fee? He has already gotten the inheritance, daughter and even poor Byakko’s life. He still dares to claim for rental fees? “I’m not going to quarrel with you any longer”. Immediately, out of Byakko’s mouth came a faint white light. The white light gracefully condensed into a line and shot into Shi Yan. Byakko’s body soon became limp and collapsed. It was completely dead. No life could be felt inside the body anymore.
Shi Yan did not feel anything as the white light went inside of him. He knew that this white light was the remnant soul that Byakko was previously talking about. He had guessed that this soul was merging back with the main soul. However, he could not understand why the main soul wouldn’t just move back to his original body.
Since the battle has concluded and the ape was done for, Shi Yan finally relaxed. He had guessed that the third shadow was probably Lumi. Since Byakko was fine, the third shadow was not an enemy. Laying his back on a burnt tree, he closed his eyes. As the boy dozed off, Shi Yin climbed onto his lap and snugly closed her eyes.
~ Inside of Shi Yan’s dream realm,
“I see you’re back”. Byakko said in a sarcastic tone.
Shi Yan came out of a dark portal and into the dungeon that he previously made. Once he heard Byakko’s voice, he let out a sigh.
Byakko frowned “Boy did you have no desire to see me?”
Shi Yan brazenly nodded “I actually wanted to have a nice dream for once… am I going to have to see you everytime I sleep?”.
Byakko snorted “I am known as the guardian of the west! Mortals and immortals would die to see me!” Seeing that Shi Yan had no change in expression, Byakko slammed his paw on the ground “Boy! Do you not want my help to pass the test? Why are you acting so dissolute?”.
Shi Yan crossed his arms and stared at Byakko, and the spoke in an irritated tone, “Like you would be willing to help! Previously you wouldn’t even tell me what Lumi had been planning this whole bloody time!” Shi Yan pointed to himself and shouted. “Do you actually take me for a fool?”.
Byakko closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Although he found Shi Yan’s intelligence and personality to be worthy of praise, he did not enjoy having to tolerate the boy’s temperaments. He did not wish to further agitate the boy and damage their already thin relationship. “Alright, alright. Let’s take a breath and calm down”.
Shi Yan snorted, causing Byakko’s eyes to twitch. “Boy, listen well. I know for a fact that you have already passed this test and will be moving onto the next stage. Whenever you enter this realm, I will tell you more about the test at hand. Don’t worry, I won’t put your life in harm’s way. If you die, I will get found out and that will be the end of me”.
Shi Yan did not take a glance at Byakko the entire time he spoke. This caused Byakko’s eyes to continuously twitch maliciously. “Boy, could you at least look at me while I speak?”
Shi Yan made an unwilling face and looked towards Byakko. At this, Byakko couldn’t help but curse in his heart [Damn brat! Here I am trying to help you! Yet, you dare act like a fussy bitch!] Byakko grit his teeth and continued “Listen! I gave you my inheritance. If you die, it will also be the end of my whole inheritance! I will absolutely not let you die!”
Shi Yan chuckled and asked ” So why did you give me your inheritance? Is it so unimportant that you would let a stranger receive it? What’s more, how could I affirm that what you are saying is true? You didn’t seem willing to help me even at the cost of my life the previous time.”
Shi Yan could tell that there was some truth in what Byakko had said. He had not personally faced the death’s door, so Shi Yan knew that his last criticism was simply baseless accusations. He was just acting dissolute out of spite. He wanted to get back at Byakko for making him irritated the last time he was here. Although he truly wanted to have a pleasant dream without Byakko, there were benefits that could be reaped here.
Byakko forced a smile. [Unimportant? My inheritance is UNIMPORTANT!? It’s a cultivator’s most precious thing once they died. It is the most precious mark on the world that they leave behind. It was a mark for them to not be forgotten by the world.] “I gave you my inheritance because I no longer had the strength to sacrifice for a tomb. Not to mention, even if I manage to make a tomb, it would easily be found out and destroyed by the person chasing after me”.
Shi Yan nodded his head “So, what’s so good about your inheritance?”.
Byakko proudly raised his head. “Before I tell you, could you take these chains off me?”.
“I’d rather not.” Shi Yan immediately refused, making Byakko’s face to turn dark. He had been playing nice for such a long time but this boy was simply trying to be unbearable. However, he could not waste the amount of effort he had put into pleasing Shi Yan. Reluctantly, he laid down on the floor and gave up the thought of being released.
Shi Yan secretly smiled in his heart and thought to himself. [If you are a good kitty, I will naturally release you.] Of course, he would not verbalize his thoughts to Byakko. Even he wanted to have a good relationship with Byakko but, that was only after he had punished the arrogant cat.
If Byakko knew of Shi Yan’s thoughts, he would immediately choose suicide instead of being willing to suffer humiliation in the hands of Shi Yan.
Shi Yan saw that Byakko was no longer in any mood to chat. He turned around and was prepared to leave. Unexpectedly, Byakko spoke in a low-spirited voice, which made Shi Yan stop. “You have only one or two days more before the people chasing me arrive. Pick up my daughter and quickly leave”.
Shi Yan immediately recalled that he had something important that he needed to ask Byakko. Pretending to still have a cold personality, ” I got to ask, where would the ape place any of his captured victims?”
Byakko’s eyes widen and question “Boy! Why would you need to know that?”.
Shi Yan did not want to reveal any advantages to Byakko to use. Thus, he stayed silent.
Byakko understood that this question was really important to Shi Yan. Judging from his reaction, he warned “I am only willing to tell you the place if you tell me the reason that you want to find this place”.
Shi Yan hesitated. He could lie but how? [I wish to find beast cores? I wanted to know how the ape lived?] There was no possible lie that he could think of at the moment. However, he needed to find Selene’s parents. In the end, Shi Yan decided to tell the truth. He stared at Byakko with unwilling eyes “I met this tree and became good friends with her alright! She’s looking for her parents and I promised that I would help her. That’s all there is to it.”
Byakko eye brown tightened as he was in deep thought. He remembered Hati previously mentioning a tree with Shi Yan… a Dark Dimensional Tree… “Then you would have to disappoint your friend. There will not be any captives there”. Shi Yan got agitated and gripped his fist. “How would you know?!”.
Byakko shook his head and had a sad facial expression. “In that fight with the ape, he was much stronger than before. Those that he found were definitely killed by him… Their cores were used to heal and strengthen him”.
Shi Yan’s body shook. He understood that Byakko was definitely not lying. How was he going to explain to Selene? How is Selene going to live from now on? She is basically an orphan right now. Would she wait for her parents forever? Could that little girl accept the death of her parents?
Shi Yan’s thoughts circulated around his mind. He fumbled back and sat down, his face paler than before. He continuously scratched the back of his hand. Luckily, he had no physical body at the moment. Otherwise, blood would already start flowing.
Byakko saw Shi Yan and understood that this friend of his was important to him. Of course, Byakko did not understand Shi Yan’s feelings at this moment. Growing up, he only had Li En and Shi Yin. Interaction with others normally led to him being beaten up or used. He had no friends throughout his life. No one who he could trust except for Li En and Shi Yin. However, now, he finally met someone who he could trust again.
How could he able to bear bringing the bad news to Selene? How could he able to lie to her, again? How could he stand to watch that innocent and lovely girl suffer? He could not! He did not want to choose either choices. His whole mind was in disarray.
Byakko opened his mouth to snap Shi Yan out of his confused state “Boy! Boyyy!”. Unfortunately, it was no use. Suddenly, Byakko spoke of something that made Shi Yan stop and stare. “Boy!! Is that girl a Darkwood?”.
Seeing Shi Yan’s reaction, Byakko understood that his guess was correct. He sighed and asked again “Is that girl from the Darkwood family? Selene, was it?”.
Shi Yan unconsciously nodded.
Byakko sighed. “It seems that fate has played a cruel trick on her. So young yet she has to face such a fate. It is truly something that I should take responsibility for but cannot.” He’s eyes sharpened and in a very sad tone, he continue “Boy, as my successor, you have to bear this mistake of mine. Please, take care of that child”. Byakko took a deep breath “Bring that child to her parents to absorb their bodies. They are located by the lake of Mist Mountain… This is what they would want for their daughter…”.
“Wait, do you know her? What did you do to her parents?!”.
Byakko stop for a moment before speaking “They were a family which I took care of. Their species is rare and endangered. Her parents lived with me in this mountain range for 6 years…”. Byakko closed his eyes and shook his head. “Listen. The past does not matter anymore… We can backtrack all we want but that won’t help your friend. I made a mistake. I did not kill off my guardian the first time we fought. My weakness has caused the family of your friend to be broken…”.
Shi Yan gripped his fist and shouted “Why didn’t you kill him? Why!? You knew that he would cause more troubles! Why didn’t you eliminate him!?”.
Byakko closed his eyes and in a sad tone. “How could I… He has been with me for more than fifteen thousand years. He sacrificed his whole family to allow me and my daughter to escape! Boy… Things are never ever that simple…”
Shi Yan snorted “No! They could have been. You had a choice!” Shi Yan took a deep breath and declared “Fine! I will bring her to her parents. I will let you drown in your bloody guilt! I hope that you forever regret your actions!”. Without waiting for Byakko to say another word, Shi Yan already stormed out of the dungeon.
Byakko stared at the disappearing Shi Yan and thought to himself. [I already regretted my actions boy… However, what would regret do? I am already a living fossil of the primordial era… The number of years that I have lived far exceed what you can imagine. The number of mistakes I’ve made naturally also exceeds what I can count. All these years, those bitter experiences made me grow numb… that child certainly has my sympathy but eventually, she will also be like the rest. A passing moment of pain… This is what it means to be an immortal…]
~ Outside of the dungeon,
Shi Yan stood there, thinking to himself whilst scratching the back of his hand.[Damn… That useless cat! Arghhh! I wish I could just kill him!
However, he still has some use to me… I need to take care of Selene? I can hardly even take care of Shi Yin… food, water, place to stay… Selene is too huge… Even if we were back in our forest, she would stand out too much! How irresponsible for that bloody cat to pur about responsibility. Argghh!
But can I really blame him…?]
Shi Yan sat on the ground and looked out into the boundless white sky. He took deep breaths, calming himself down. Suddenly, he felt a familiar lick on his face.[It seems that Shi Yin is trying to wake me up… I might as well get ready to go…]
A black portal opened up in front of the boy and he exited.
Byakko sighed. [It seems that this boy has finally left. Another day for him to take another step toward the world of immortals… Well, he doesn’t have any choice left.]
The white tiger turned his attention to the chains wrapped around his limps, [Strange, even when he leaves, these chains do not disappear or weaken.
Even with an unyielding will, when the subconscious sinks into dormancy, the will of my soul should be able to overthrow his… How is it possible for these chains to still be around? I should be able to make it vanish… However, this is not the case.
This boy must have some kind of secret within his soul that I can’t detect… Otherwise, it’s impossible for things to remain like this.]