Book 13: Chapter 19 – Five Years
Within the Star Pagoda.
Mountain Lord He sat cross-legged, pondering the Profound Mysteries of the array when he suddenly frowned. “No, this is not quite right.”
“Xue Ying!” he hollered as he stood up, his voice reverberating throughout the sealed hall.
A figure condensed beside him.
Having refined the Star Pagoda, Xue Ying could draw support from the the world’s power to immediately respond to any matter pertaining to it. Naturally, he could also condense a temporary incarnation anywhere inside it.
“Mountain Lord He, what’s wrong?” Xue Ying was somewhat confused. After he had been trapped inside the black flower and had begun cultivating, neither Chao Qing, Palace Head Chen, nor any of the others would disturb him for any small matter.
“There’s a very important matter we must discuss. At first I didn’t want to disturb you, but after hesitating again and again, I found that something is truly amiss. It would be better if I told you about it.” Mountain Lord He frowned and continued, “It concerns mage Jing Qiu.”
“Is something wrong with her?” Xue Ying was startled.
Mountain Lord He explained, “You’re aware that operating the Star Pagoda places a harsh burden on the soul, which is why you had me and Chao Qing help Jing Qiu. However, the amount of Deity Crystals which the Star Pagoda has been consuming lately has become smaller and smaller. When I asked Jing Qiu about it, she brushed it off saying she had achieved a new comprehension of the arrays, which allowed her to lessen the wear and tear, but I suspect that is not truly what happened.”
“It’s not what happened?” Xue Ying frowned.
“Indeed! I’ve been watching carefully over the last two years, and under her control of the Star Pagoda, the amount of Deity Crystals it consumes has already decreased many times over. Each time it would only decrease by a little, but if we look at it cumulatively…the pagoda only consumes half of what it did at first!” The same frown plastered on his face, Mountain Lord He continued, “Progress to such an extent is actually very much outside the norms. In fact, my conjecture is that Mage Jing Qiu is actually controlling the Star Pagoda in spite of the damage accumulated on her soul.”
“Mountain Lord He,” Xue Ying began with bated breath, “that can’t possibly be true, can it? The pain caused by accumulated soul damage is incomparably violent. How could she control the arrays under such circumstances?”
When his Qi Avatar was defeated, a thread of Xue Ying’s own soul had dissipated, which gave him a very clear view of that type of pain.
“You’ve also been tortured by that hex poison, but weren’t you able to bear it all the same?” Mountain Lord He shook his head. “Go ask her yourself. Straining herself and piling up damage on her soul in order to lessen the usage of Deity Crystals might be considered a necessary sacrifice for the Xia Clan, but it’s simply too short-sighted. Should her soul continue stacking damage, how long will she last? If too long a time goes on, I’m afraid she’ll even fall unconscious.”
“Alright, I’ll go ask.” Xue Ying nodded. Since Mountain Lord He decided to tell him about it, he must have determined it to be true based on many clues.
Inside a separate hall, the light-blue robed Jing Qiu sat cross-legged with her eyes closed. She was incomparably beautiful, like a fairy who had descended onto the mortal world.
“Jing Qiu.” Xue Ying’s figure condensed by her side.
“Xue Ying, what’s the matter?” Jing Qiu opened her eyes. “I’m in the middle of operating the Star Pagoda right now, so if there’s no big issue, I think we should talk later.”
“We’ll talk now.” Xue Ying examined his wife, carefully checking complexion; he couldn’t help but say, “Is it true that, while disregarding the damage to your soul, you’ve been forcefully controlling the Star Pagoda?”
Jing Qiu initially blanked, but she then showed a faint smile. “Xue Ying, what’s with the sudden accusation? I’ve always been talented when it comes to arrays, and I’ve simply undergone a few realizations in a row at this critical juncture. The only result was reducing the consumption of Deity Crystals; you’re worrying too much.”
“Can I call Mountain Lord He over to examine your soul, then?” Xue Ying asked.
Jing Qiu froze.
If a single thread of Mountain Lord’s consciousness entered Jing Qiu’s sea of knowledge, he could easily see if Jing Qiu’s soul suffered any damage.
“Alright, alright. You’ve guessed right.” Jing Qiu helplessly smiled. “I’ve always known you were smart.”
Watching his wife’s somewhat pale complexion, Xue Ying couldn’t help but anxiously call out, “Jing Qiu, you can’t brute force the operation of the Star Pagoda! As long as you begin resting the moment your soul is being pressured, there’s no way it will suffer any damage.”
“I was just worried,” Jing Qiu stepped in. “On top of that, a bit of damage on the soul is no big issue. I only have to let it slowly recuperate in the future. At such a critical moment in the war, I just have to endure the pain.”
Xue Ying replied, “Then you can just take your time and properly recover from today onward. You can reduce the time you’re in control of the Star Pagoda to half of what it’s now. Once your soul is fully healed, you can resume control.”
“No!” Jing Qiu cried without a moment of hesitation. “Mountain Lord He’s control isn’t at the same level as mine, and there’s no need to even discuss Senior Chao Qing. How can I rest at such a time? Xue Ying, am I not still fine? Don’t worry, I know how to control myself.”
“I’m making you stop.” Xue Ying sent his wife a sharp glare.
Jing Qiu had always greatly admired Xue Ying, and during their life together as husband and wife of a hundred years or more, Xue Ying would normally make the decisions on important matters, and Jing Qiu would generally not oppose them.
“Xue Ying!” Jing Qiu’s brows knit together as she angrily responded, “I’m operating the Star Pagoda firstly to save you, but I’m also doing so to save the entire Xia Clan!”
Anxious beyond words, Xue Ying shouted back, “You have to stop! If you won’t do it yourself, I can restrict you from controlling the Star Pagoda. Jing Qiu…you can’t mess around with damage to the soul.”
But Jing Qiu simply looked at Xue Ying’s visage before her eyes, the most important person in her life, and said, “If you do that, you would be doing nothing more than telling me to die; Xue Ying, take the control of the pagoda away from me, and I’ll immediately commit suicide!”
“How can you just…just…” From a single look at his wife’s current expression, Xue Ying understood that she had firmly made up her mind.
“It will be alright.” Jing Qiu returned to her usual smile. “For the sake of the Xia Clan, making a sacrifice of this level is really no big deal. On top of that, if the damage to my soul reaches a truly bad degree, I’ll simply fall unconscious. At that point, I would no longer be able to control the Star Pagoda even if I wanted to. Once I fall unconscious, I only need to focus on recuperating, and I’ll gradually recover. At worst, I won’t be able to cultivate afterwards, right? I’ve already become a Demigod anyway, so I can still live for three thousand years!”
Finding himself unable to persuade his wife, Xue Ying could only inwardly sigh.
Indeed, when damage to one’s soul reached a certain point, they would immediately fall unconscious. With his wife already at the Demigod realm, at least there wouldn’t be any danger to her life.
“Alright, alright. You can go now. I’m still in the middle of controlling the Star Pagoda,” Jing Qiu concluded.
Xue Ying could do nothing but comply.
Looking at Xue Ying’s dissipating figure, Jing Qiu silently muttered to herself, Senior disciple brother Xue Ying, unless I find a way to save you, we will never be able to meet again. To me, how would that differ from death?
She them immediately settled her heart and went on with controlling the Star Pagoda’s arrays.
Having devoted her heart and soul to the Star Pagoda’s complex arrays, she had already accumulated some damage to her soul and was already suffering a huge burden. The damage was gradually become more serious, and her soul energy was dissipating thread after thread. But Jing Qiu didn’t completely disregard that matter and had actually discovered something strange about it. I’ve actually comprehended the inner workings of countless arrays; my efficiency is actually rising?
That truly was a very strange phenomenon! It was as if some sort of shackle was destroyed, and a burden was released. Her perception was actually increasing step by step, and soul light would occasionally flash, helping her comprehend the more profound mysteries of the arrays.
Jing Qiu was completely immersed in the feeling, working tirelessly to control and deduce the arrays.
Xue Ying, you’ll definitely make it out.
Year after year passed.
Jing Qiu’s complexion had paled even further, but the efficiency at which she controlled the Star Pagoda was rising higher and higher. Such a level was already inexplicable despite all her might. Clearly, her understanding of the Star Pagoda’s arrays truly was increasing seemingly without end. However, after seeing her complexion become so faint, with even her breath having become somewhat weak, Xue Ying couldn’t help but be anxious beyond belief.
“Don’t worry, this is nothing. Once I can no longer bear it, I’ll simply fall unconscious. No need to be anxious.”
“If your heart aches for my sake, go on and split open that black flower sooner.”
“It’s fine; it’s fine. It’s no big deal. My comprehension of the arrays has increased again, so I’ll be able to support you a little longer.”
Jing Qiu never ceased to comfort Xue Ying.
Back in the desert, the white-clothed youth trapped inside the black flower was in the middle of his tireless practice of his spear skills. Despite the sound of the Sorcerer God playing instruments, he was practicing the spear while sparing no effort.
Five years have already passed…five whole years!
Yet I still have yet to break through with any of my three True Meanings. Why…just why is it? A flame smoldered inside Xue Ying’s heart. He would blame himself every time he saw his wife’s complexion get a bit more pale. Why was it that he couldn’t break the black flower open, and why was it that none of his three True Meanings could break through?
Xue Ying’s vision malevolently swept over the faraway Sorcerer God and Great Demonic God within the red-leafed space.
I will definitely break out, definitely!
Hong, hong, hong…
Xue Ying frantically practiced his spear skills.
He disregarded all external disturbances, including the one caused by the Sorcerer God’s playing—which had already become a much lower threat than it previously was. He unceasingly polished and refined move after move of his spear technique. He had even went on to research his World Deity rank secret techniques in hopes of comprehending more from their mysteries.
Late at night.
Like a layer of silk, the moonlight stepped through the Star Pagoda’s membrane and draped over the vast desert. It even passed through the black flower to shine onto Xue Ying’s figure, who was still silently practicing spear techniques.
Hong long long~
Without warning, an illusory gigantic star appeared behind Xue Ying’s back. Its body was pitch-black and seemed to contain countless Profound Mysteries hidden within.
In the distant red-leafed space, the expressions of the Sorcerer God and Great Demonic God underwent a massive change for the worse, and the Sorcerer God couldn’t help but cry out, “The Star Deity Heart?!”