Chapter 35: Teardrop
Chu Yunfeng was sighing softly as he walked quietly with Li’Er and a dozen of some of their best fighters along a small trail that would lead them down the mountains.
They were searching the mountains for the Holy Consort who had fallen through the desolate mists to the ravines and valleys below. But as each day passed, they were getting more depressed and desperate.
They had even lost one expedition party of twenty men totally to the desolate depths. The deeper that they went down the mountains, the bigger risk of encountering the more powerful desolate monsters and they had already met with several in the past few days alone.
The Holy Consort was their figurehead and without her, there was no point in going to the Nuer Mountains. Therefore the protégés of the Holy Consort City were determined to find her body dead or alive.
As for Young Master Yun Xinghe, he had assisted with the search too but none of his protégés were willing to venture deep into the mountains.
Chu Yunfeng really did not blame them. He knew that the Celestial Sword Clan had suffered heavy losses during the encounter of the Tyrant Behemoth.
“Li’Er, I don’t think that this is a good idea for you to venture so deep. Wait for me up the mountains. I will be back shortly.”
Li’Er said solemnly, “You have been searching nonstop for many days now. You should be the one that should take a rest, not me. Moreover I’m the direct protégé of our Holy Consort so I have more responsibility than you to look for my mistress.”
Chu Yunfeng said quietly, “As an elder, I am ordering you to return to camp now.”
Li’Er kicked an astonished Chu Yunfeng as she said coldly, “Don’t you dare to order me around. I am staying put no matter what you say.”
Chu Yunfeng was startled by her stubbornness and that she had actually kicked an elder. This was considered an act of disrespect. But strangely he did not seem to mind but he had a sudden courage as he whispered, “Li’Er. If we are able to get out of here alive then I want to take you as my woman.”
Li’Er gave him a furious stare, “What do you mean by take me as your woman? You ought to court me properly, you know.”
Chu Yunfeng was not dense so he quickly said excitingly, “Really Li’Er? I…I have a chance?”
Li’Er smiled warmly as she whispered, “Of course you have the chance. Humph! When did it start?”
Chu Yunfeng said shyly, “What when?”
Li’Er scolded him gently, “When did you like me?”
Chu Yunfeng said awkwardly, “While we are at Tranquil City…”
Li’Er said curiously, “Oh?”
Chu Yunfeng said even softer than earlier, “And…before you are picked as the new protégé disciple of the Holy Consort, I have seen your performances in the clan competition. You’re really outstanding…”
He sighed softly, “I have secretly liked you since then but there are really no opportunities for me to talk to you…”
Li’Er smiled, “Now you have the chance, Elder Chu.”
Chu Yunfeng smiled weakly, “You can call me Yunfeng directly unless there is someone around.”
Chu Yunfeng really did not expect that he would finally muster his courage to profess to Li’Er and he was even more surprised that he did not hit a wall. It was because he had thought that Li’Er may have liked Xiaofang more than him…
Li’Er was willing to give Chu Yunfeng a chance because she had found him to be a straightforward man and someone that she could depend upon in the future.
Even though Li’Er was sufficiently impressed with Xiaofang more but she knew that there was definitely something that was going on between Xiaofang and her protégé mistress. Even if she had ten lives, she dare not fall in love with Xiaofang or even think about it.
Chu Yunfeng whispered in jest, “If I die down here, you should get re-married.”
Li’Er laughed softly, “We have not yet even married and you are talking about re-married already. You must have nothing to talk about, am I right?”
Chu Yunfeng laughed out loud, startling the many protégés that were behind them.
He whispered, “I will definitely marry you once we’ve returned to the Holy Citadel City.”
Li’Er laughed blissfully, “I…I didn’t say that I will agree yet! Where is the courtship? I don’t really see your sincerity at all.”
Chu Yunfeng, “ (~˘▾˘)~ ”
For some time they were contented to walk together blissfully despite of the dangers that may befallen them at any time. The many protégés that were behind them suddenly find the aura between them a little weird but a lot amicable than before.
All of a sudden the trees and the floras were fluttering, causing Chu Yunfeng and Li’Er to be greatly alarmed as a maiden in red flew out of the white mists and landed in front of them!
It was their Holy Consort!
Ye Jing landed gently on the grass patch in front of them. She had lifted herself with all her martial strength and then used her astonishing lightless skill to scale the cliffs. In the past, it was impossible for her to do so but ever since she had reached the Transverse Divinity, her body was three times lighter than usual and it was possible to accomplish such a feat!
Li’Er immediately cried out loud, “Mistress! We have finally found you!”
All the protégés were excited and their sombre mood disappeared, “We have found Holy Consort. She is alright…so happy…”
Ye Jing was startled, “Li’Er…Elder Chu Yunfeng…you are all here…”
Chu Yunfeng was about to ask where Xiaofang is when Ye Jing suddenly said, “Help me hold onto Yu’Er…”
And before anyone can stop her, she had jumped down the mists again, shocking everyone!
Li’Er was stunned, “Mistress jump down again…”
Suddenly there was a minute brilliant golden and blue flare below as Ye Jing and Xiaofang flew up suddenly again, stunning everyone who had looked down the bottomless height of the cliff.
Ye Jing had a hand on Xiaofang and Xiaofang was carrying someone on his back!
Ye Jing said breathlessly as she collapsed on the ground, “Whew! I thought that we are not going to make it!…”
Xiaofang kneel onto the ground and there was a maiden that was on his back. He too was breathless from expending all their martial energies into executing their lightless and swiftness skill.
The maiden that was on Xiaofang’s back said weakly, “I…I can’t believe that the two of you will be so crazy to try scaling the cliff. Other than my sister and just a few of the masters, I have never seen anyone as astonishing as the two of you.”
Chu Yunfeng and Li’Er saw that the frail heavenly maiden that was on Xiaofang’s back had golden eyes. They were slightly taken aback.
Chu Yunfeng asked, “This is…”
Ye Jing said casually as she exercised her vital strength to restore her heart beat to normal, “She is Saintess Fan. She is injured. We’ve found her.”
Chu Yunfeng immediately did a half bow, “My respect to Saintess Fan. May I know which illustrious clan that you have hailed from?”
Fan Yuqing said indifferently, “It is not worth mentioning.”
Chu Yunfeng was startled at her aloofness. If a celestial clan has a Sacred Saint in its rank, then it would be at least a second rank celestial clan. It was definitely something to boast about. Not even the Holy Citadel City had a Sacred Saint in its ranks for ages and she merely said that her celestial clan was not worth mentioning!
Chu Yunfeng smiled bitterly and he dare not ask further.
Ye Jing quickly said, “Saintess Fan is unwell and she is uncomfortable to speak. We should get back to camp immediately.”
She whispered to Xiaofang, “Are you alright? Are you still able to stand? Do you want the others to help you to carry her…”
Fan Yuqing interrupted coldly, “Other than Xiaofang, I don’t want anyone to soil their dirty hands on me.”
Ye Jing said, “What did you say…”
Xiaofang quickly said, “I am alright. Don’t worry. I have already recovered my vital strength and am good to go.”
To prove it, he mustered his strength and stood up again. “See. I’m fine.”
Ye Jing growled softly, “In that case then let’s move on.”
Chu Yunfeng quickly ordered everyone to march back to camp as he led the front of the column while Li’Er stayed with Ye Jing.
For some unknown reasons, Li’Er could feel that there was a cold air between this Saintess Fan and her mistress…
Fan Yuqing said weakly, “I can finally see the sunlight now. I didn’t know how beautiful the sunlight is until I’ve missed it for over two centuries. Being alive is such a beautiful feeling. Ye Jing, don’t you think so?”
Ye Jing replied indifferently, “In that case, enjoy it to the fullness.”
Fan Yuqing said almost to a whisper, “For the Holy Consort City to be here, are you going to take the trial of the Empyrean Warrior Labyrinth?”
Ye Jing replied casually, “That’s right. Does your Saintess want to join us as well?”
Fan Yuqing smiled coldly, “You must be joking with me. In my present condition, I am no better than the lowest celestial practitioner. Even if I were to recover, it probably won’t be much better than an Immortal Celestial. I will be thankful if I can regain my strength to the Enlighten Celestial level.”
Ye Jing said coldly, “I will put you in my secondary sedan. You are to stay there and not to come out until you can walk again. If there’s anything, I will come to see you personally.”
Fan Yuqing said nonchalantly, “You are indeed very kind to me.”
When Li’Er heard them, she could not hide her startled shock. Her mistress was not polite at all to this Saintess and this Saintess seemed unmindful to it but it was obvious that every line of her words had a hidden sarcasm in it.
In the celestial realm, status is very important to the celestials. The difference between a ‘Celestial’ and a ‘Saint’ is like heavens and the earth. No matter if a celestial is a sectarian leader or not, the real status in the celestial realm has always been the cultivation level itself and not position of power.
In a short while time they were almost back to their camp.
The news that the Holy Consort had been found quickly spread like wildfire in the camp and even reached the camp of the Celestial Sword Clan.
“Did you hear the news?”
“The Holy Consort has been found…”
“She has survived the fall…”
Young Master Yun Xinghe was among the group that had arrived to greet Ye Jing’s return.
Young Master Yun Xinghe immediately said with great passion, “Maiden Ye Jing, I’ve thought that I may never see you again. What you did during the battle with the Tyrant Behemoth is just too impressive. I didn’t know that your lightless skills will be this profound…”
“How is Celestial Yun Chen? Is he alright?” Ye Jing interrupted with a weak smile.
Young Master Yun Xinghe answered without any hesitation, “Elder Yun Chen is fine already. He is still recuperating so I told him not to come.”
Ye Jing nodded, “Is that so?…”
Young Master Yun Xinghe was only paying attention to Ye Jing and did not notice Xiaofang at all. Nor did he notice that Xiaofang was piggybacking someone. To him, it was just too normal. After all, searching the desolate depths of the mountains carried a lot of risks.
It was not just Young Master Yun Xinghe but almost everyone else as well. It did not bother Xiaofang at all as he quietly piggybacked Fan Yuqing into the camp.
Fan Yuqing said in a low voice, “It seems that this Ye Jing is really quite popular. If I’m not wrong, that young man earlier is a man of high status in the Celestial Sword Clan. And he won’t be the only one that will be courting her in the future. A peerless maiden is actually nothing but more troubles. My sister is such a peerless beauty as well but it gives her nothing in return.”
“She is indeed popular,” Xiaofang replied indifferently. “But I am happy for her.”
Fan Yuqing asked gently, “You seem to like her a lot. I can tell.”
Xiaofang said, “That is my personal matter.”
Fan Yuqing quietly asked Xiaofang, “Why don’t you leave with me when I’ve recovered? I promise you that I will make you into a golden celestial in less than a hundred years and will even impart my precious martial profound arts to you.”
Xiaofang smiled faintly, “I thank you for your kindness but there is really no need.”
Disappointment began to appear on Fan Yuqing countenance. She asked quietly, “You are only wasting your potential here and can only be a lowly servant. I can take you as my direct protégé…”
“There is really no need to do so. I thank senior for your kindness,” Xiaofang firmly said. “Holy Consort…and I are inseparable. I am really very happy to be with her. To be able to protect her is the only desire in my life.”
When Fan Yuqing heard him, her heart went cold and she looked away from him. But somehow, her grip on his back tightened and for a moment, she was just contented to feel his warmth.
Xiaofang suddenly said, “Senior, I hope that you will remember that it is our Holy Consort that is the one that has saved you. She is the one that has found you in the cave and insists that for me to aid you in the first place.”
Fan Yuqing did not say anything.
Xiaofang reached the large blue sedan that were drawn by eight large devious beasts and gently put her down on the bed inside. “Senior, I take my leave first. Please rest well. This is a soul jewel. It may be useful for your spiritual recovery.”
With that he had quietly walked away
Fan Yuqing stared his back view, not saying a word and not paying attention to the luxurious feathery bed or the many exquisite items around her.
Finally she muttered, “If this is in the past, I would have killed you on the spot for touching me…but now…”
“Even if we want to leave her, can we get her to the top first? This is as good as not saving her. This is my request.” She was reliving his words silently…
And a single drop of tear dripped on the bed…
She stared in disbelief at her tear, “I…I have cried?”
It was because she had not cried for a long time. She did not even cry when she was suffering for the past two centuries. When she was being pursued by her enemies and was crippled by them, she did not cry either.
But now she was actually shedding tears. Why was that so?