Translator: Silavin & Tia
Translation Checker: PewPewLazerGun
Editor and Proofreader: Leo of Zion Mountain & Dhael Ligerkeys
While everybody from Nine Heavens Holy Land was stuck in a desperate battle against the cultivators from Grand Desolation Star Field, a sneaky and suspicious figure suddenly appeared in the empty Nine Heavens Holy Land. That figure was dressed in a purple robe that seemed to signify auspicious omens and unparalleled luxury. That figure was none other than Zi Wu Ji!
He did not follow Gu Jian Xin nor participate in the battle. He only pretended to join for a bit before returning to Nine Heavens Holy Land. Gu Jian Xin and the others were staunchly fighting against the enemy, so how could they notice what he was doing? Besides, the Holy Land had Xia Ning Chang’s protection and should be all but impregnable to invasion from external forces. Unfortunately, Zi Wu Ji was one of their own, and all of those sturdy defences were useless against him; therefore, he returned to the great hall without any problems. He was constantly muttering under his breath with a bitter and resentful expression, as if cursing at something.
Just a moment ago, he received a secret order that was currently troubling him greatly. Even so, he had to choke down his resentment and get it done out of consideration for his life. Not only would his life be spared if he succeeded, but he would also be able to become intimate with the woman of his dreams. That was killing two birds with one stone.
Approaching the inner temple cautiously, he tried to restrain his aura as much as possible. He knew that it was difficult to conceal his whereabouts from a Star Master, especially when they were so close. Still, that only applied if the Star Master was in a good enough condition and had the spare mental capacity to perceive their surroundings.
Unfortunately, that was not the case for Xia Ning Chang. She was in a terrible condition that had been worsening by the day, a fact Zi Wu Ji had confirmed with Gu Jian Xin earlier. For that reason, he was rather confident about succeeding in his mission despite feeling a little nervous.
After passing through the inner palace, Zi Wu Ji soon arrived at a room located not too far away. He rounded the corner and was overjoyed by the sight he was greeted with. The door to the room was wide open, and there were no traces of any Spirit Arrays for defence.
[The Heavens are on my side!]
Before he could dance for joy though, he heard a peal of clear and sweet laughter. The sound shocked him so much that he was stunned in place for some time. That was because the sound of laughter belonged to Xia Ning Chang. Although she sounded weak, she was not in as bad a condition as he had thought.
[What is going on? Isn’t she supposed to be bedridden, so sick that she doesn’t even have the strength to open her eyes? How is she able to laugh now? Also, who is joking with her at this time?] In that instant, he decided to retreat. He might not be able to go against those orders, but he had to reconsider taking action if his life was going to be at stake.
Suddenly, a realization flashed through his mind and he recalled the identity of a person Xia Ning Chang could be talking to. It was that seven- or eight-year-old girl! Among all the people who arrived earlier, she was the only one who did not leave.
Thinking so, he let out a soft breath of relief. [What a false alarm. I don’t have anything to worry about if it’s that little girl. The only thing I have to worry about right now is Xia Ning Chang’s current condition. She has the strength to laugh, so will she also have the strength to mobilize the power of Tong Xuan Realm? If that’s the case, then I’m no match for her…]
While he was hesitating, Xia Ning Chang’s voice suddenly rang out, “Come in and talk if you have something to say. Why are you… cough, cough… skulking around outside?”
[I’ve been discovered!] Zi Wu Ji was surprised at first, but he soon calmed down. Since she was not unconscious, it was only natural for her to notice his presence as he was literally just outside her room. Listening to her voice, he realized that she was indeed extremely weak, so after struggling with himself in his heart, he made his decision and stopped concealing his presence. He hurriedly ran into the room and shouted, “Young Lady Xia, this is bad!” Barging into the room, he promptly revealed an anxious expression.
Xia Ning Chang’s expression immediately changed as she couldn’t help but straighten her body that was leaning against the side of the bed and ask anxiously, “What’s wrong?”
He looked devastated, “Brother Yang, h-he… Haa…” Zi Wu Ji thumped his chest and stomped his feet, deliberately dragging things out.
Even if Xia Ning Chang doubted Zi Wu Ji’s words, she couldn’t help turning pale after hearing them. Swiftly, she released her Divine Sense and turned her attention to the battle above the clouds.
At that moment, Zi Wu Ji struck out. His palms flashed with a purple brilliance as he covered Xia Ning Chang in a layer of light and blurted out, “Please don’t blame me for this, Young Lady Xia. I have no choice; I was forced to do this. But, don’t worry. I won’t take your life…”
His sentence trailed off as at the same time, his expression turned into one of astonishment. Without any warning, a small figure was suddenly standing in front of him. A pair of distinct black eyes calmly watched him without the slightest emotion. Those eyes were looking at him as though looking at a mere pebble or grain of sand and made him extremely uneasy for some reason.
“Scram!” he shouted. [I’ve already shown my hand. At this point, there’s no turning back anymore. This little girl doesn’t know her place, so I’ll dispose of her first!]
He threw out a palm strike towards Liu Yan’s head at the same time, one that made solid contact, but in the next instant, his face filled with astonishment as he gawked stupidly, [She’s unscathed!]
The little girl, who looked like she was carved from the purest jade, was completely unscathed after taking a hit from him at full strength. She simply remained standing there quietly, her body note even flinching from the impact.
A feeling of horror grew in Zi Wu Ji’s heart as he began to wonder, [Did I… make a mistake somewhere?]
Before he could understand the situation, a fire snake wrapped itself around him and bound him up.
When Yang Kai returned after he finished dealing with the cultivator from Grand Desolation Star Field, he was greeted with the sight of a trussed up Zi Wu Ji trembling in a corner. The tongue of the fire snake flicked in and out of its mouth, making it look extremely ferocious. Even so, it was not releasing any heat even though it was literally made of flames. Otherwise, Zi Wu Ji would have been burned to ashes by now.
“As I thought, it was you!” Yang Kai glanced at Zi Wu Ji as if he had expected this outcome. What the Third Elder mentioned earlier had not been very clear, but Yang Kai was shrewd, so how could he fail to guess what that old man was implying? At that time, Yang Kai simply glanced about the battlefield and quickly figured out the meaning behind the Third Elder’s words.
All of a sudden, Liu Yan tugged at his clothes. She pointed to herself to indicate that it was all thanks to her. Then, she put on an expression that seemed to say. ‘Hurry up and praise me.’
Nodding, he rubbed her small head, “Good job.”
She narrowed her eyes in enjoyment.
“Hey! Why did you get up, Little Senior Sister? Lie down quickly!” Walking over to the side of the bed, Yang Kai helped Xia Ning Chang lie back down on the bed.
Xia Ning Chang, however, gave him a small smile and comforted, “I’m fine.”
She had received nourishment from the Immortal Tree, and additionally, Yang Kai had destroyed the seven sub-arrays of the Eight Desolation Binding Spirit Array, curbing the spread of the ‘black ink stains’ they were sustaining. For that reason, she was feeling much better now. Although she should have been recuperating meticulously, she was curious about what he had experienced over the years while he was away; therefore, she had sat up on the bed and asked Liu Yan to chat with her.
Liu Yan also sympathized with Xia Ning Chang’s situation, so she only spoke about all the interesting things that Yang Kai had experienced outside while she avoided mentioning all the dangers he had faced. It was those stories that had made Xia Ning Chang burst into laughter.
“Have you counted to a hundred?” Yang Kai reached out and tapped Xia Ning Chang on the nose.
Xia Ning Chang replied, “Not yet.” [Why would I count to a hundred? I was busy chatting with Liu Yan.]
He laughed, “Good, then it seems that I have not broken my promise.”
While they were talking, Xue Yue walked in from the outside where the sight of Zi Wu Ji sitting there, tied up, caught her by surprise, “What’s this? What happened?”
Zi Wu Ji cried and pleaded, “Young Lady Yue, please save me!”
She frowned, looking at him before looking back at Xia Ning Chang again. Although she did not know the full sequence of the events, she was intelligent and quickly guessed what had happened in this room. Realizing what had transpired here, her pretty face filled with anger as she shouted, “How dare you?!”
There had been no signs at all. It wasn’t that Zi Wu Ji had concealed himself well, it was just that they had both been swamped with internal and external issues. Combined with his identity, nobody could have imagined that he would actually be a traitor that managed to take refuge under those from Grand Desolation Star Field. Now that they thought about it, this person did seem to portray some rather suspicious behaviour over the past few years.
“I didn’t mean to do this! I was forced to! I was helpless too!” He had a bitter expression on his face.
“It’s just a simple seal placed on you!” Yang Kai coldly snorted. He hadn’t bothered investigating Zi Wu Ji before, but when he looked into the matter after something had occurred, he discovered that Zi Wu Ji had a very well-hidden seal on his body. The person who placed the seal was very skilful, and no Master from a Lower Star Field would be able to notice any trace of it without a thorough investigation. Moreover, the seal had been planted for at least seven or eight years by now, so it would seem that it had been applied when Purple Star had been conquered.
Zi Wu Ji asked, “Why would I do something so unjust if I had the choice? Young Lady Xia has protected us for so many years. I’m eternally grateful to her! It’s just that this seal is impossible to remove! I’ve been trying to break it for so many years but to no avail; moreover, I would be tortured if I was discovered trying to break the seal. If…”
A ray of light flashed towards him at that moment, cutting him off mid-sentence. Shocked, he thought that Yang Kai was going to kill him but instead, he felt his body becoming lighter when that beam entered him, as though the chains binding him had been broken.
A thought flashed through his mind before he turned to stare at Yang Kai in horror. The seal placed on him by a Master from Grand Desolation Star Field had vanished! That should have been an extremely gratifying event; however, he could not bring himself to feel happy at all. A deep wave of regret washed over him. If he had simply told Yang Kai about his situation… he could have gotten his life and freedom back, but now…
Zi Wu Ji’s lips moved but no sound came out as only the strong taste of bitterness remained on his tongue.
“Kill him!” Yang Kai said coldly.
“No! Have mercy!” Zi Wu Ji yelled in horror.
In the meantime, Liu Yan’s thoughts flashed, causing the fire snake wrapped around him immediately came back to life and began to emit a scorching aura.
“Wait!” Yang Kai suddenly shouted, shooting a look at Liu Yan before saying, “Kill him outside. Don’t dirty this place.”
Liu Yan nodded and controlled the Fire Snake to fly off with Zi Wu Ji in its grasp. A short while later, a scream came from far away.
Xue Yue shook her head and sighed. [He really brought ruin upon himself. The overall situation had been decided, but he chose to walk into a dead end.]
Starting from several dozen years back, Purple Star had been wrought with various conflicts in quick succession and probably would not recover from this incident anytime soon. Heng Luo Chamber of Commerce might not be in good shape, but its foundation was still in place. There was a chance of making a comeback as long as they could recover their lost Cultivation Stars.
“Little Senior Sister, you should rest now!” Yang Kai held Xia Ning Chang’s soft hands and made her lie down, all while refusing to accept any objections.
Although Xia Ning Chang looked helpless, she obeyed him. Even so, her cold hands grabbed onto his and refused to let go. She felt as though he would disappear as soon as she let go of his hands, so her red lips parted to object. However, Yang Kai spoke before she could say anything, “I’ll stay here with you. I won’t go anywhere.”
She nodded at his words and finally closed her eyes. Afterwards, he turned around and glanced at Xue Yue. Smiling at her, he spread his other arm out invitingly. Xue Yue glared at him before sassily walking over and leaning into his embrace.
Liu Yan pouted when she saw this and walked out with an unhappy expression. Nevertheless, she closed the door behind her gently.