In the Fourth Peak, Meng Hao’s status made it so that his words were like the will of Heaven. The Inner Sect disciple nodded, made a brand mark onto the jade slip, then clasped hands and left.
Everything happened so quickly that the young woman was left standing there at a loss. She didn’t even notice as Meng Hao grabbed her by the arm.
That seemed to wake her up.
“Hey… hey, what are you doing?!” she said, her eyes going wide. A look of terror appeared inside of them as she suddenly recalled who this person was, and the stories she had heard told about him within the Sect. She was about to struggle against him, when he wrapped his arms around her and flew up into the air.
As Meng Hao flew over the Fourth Peak, the disciples who looked up to see him holding the young woman had strange expressions on their faces. Many of them looked at each other in dismay.
“Who is the Little Patriarch holding…?”
“I’ve never seen her before. From her garments she seems to be an Outer Sect disciple.”
“No way! He was so peaceful earlier today. The sky isn’t even dark, and he’s already back to his old self?”
Meanwhile, up in mid-air above the Fourth Peak.
“Put me down!!” said the young woman, her face bright red. A look of rage had appeared in her phoenix-like eyes. She continued to struggle against Meng Hao, but he seemed to have no intention of releasing her. She could only look at his face, inches away from her own, her fury growing more and more intense.
When the two of them finally landed outside of his Immortal’s cave, the woman opened her mouth and bit viciously down onto his arm. He looked at her for a moment, smiled, and released her.
“You’re going to practice cultivation here for a while,” he said with a smile, giving her a deep look. “It will only take a few days for you to realize who I am.”
“You’re the Eldest Brother of the Fourth Peak, Elite Apprentice of the Sect! Don’t tell me that gives you the right to arbitrarily humiliate other disciples!?” The woman backed up, staring at Meng Hao angrily.
“I was an Elite Apprentice yesterday, not today,” he said, laughing. With that, he sat down cross-legged and looked at the young woman.
That got her even angrier. But then, she thought of his status, and the stories she had heard, and she began to tremble. She backed up further, putting herself even more on guard.
She had heard far too many stories about this person. Any one of them was enough to cause an Outer Sect disciple like her to tremble with terror.
Time passed. Soon, it was evening, and then night. Bright stars twinkled into being up above. They were dim at first, but quickly grew clear and bright.
Perhaps it was because of the icy night wind, or the young woman’s panic-stricken state. In any case, she shrank into a corner against the stone wall, looking quite helpless.
Meng Hao looked at her and then stood up.
“Don’t you move!!” she cried, suddenly growing even more nervous. Ignoring her demands, Meng Hao walked over to her, retrieved a set of clothing from his bag of holding, and gently laid it over her.
The softness of his movement caused her to gape in surprise.
He smiled, returned to where he had been sitting before, and continued to meditate.
The woman looked at him silently, her expression one of confusion and doubt. Even more confused were the surrounding Fourth Peak disciples who had hidden themselves in the area to watch the proceedings.
They were all whispering to each other curiously about his compassionate action just now.
Another person who was completely confused was Ke Yunhai.
“Has the kid really had a change in personality?” he murmured in astonishment.
No words were exchanged through the entire night.
The young woman was incredibly nervous the entire time. She didn’t dare to meditate, nor close her eyes. She was too frightened of what she feared might happen if she did.
However, her nervousness, coupled with the exhaustion from climbing the mountain during the test earlier, caused her to unwittingly fall asleep.
When the first rays of dawn light touched her face, her eyelashes flickered and she slowly opened her eyes. Then she began to tremble. She quickly rose to her feet, causing the two robes which had been placed on top of her to tumble to the ground.
The robes were thick, and were obviously quite warm.
One of them had been placed on her by Meng Hao when she was awake. As for the other, he had covered her with it after she fell asleep.
Just in front of her was a small ball of fire that emanated pulses of heat. The heat was filled with the power of Heaven and Earth, and relieved some of the exhaustion that had filled her body.
Seeing this, the woman stared in astonishment. She looked up at Meng Hao.
He was striding down some of the stone steps on the mountain, some fruit in hand. These were Spirit Fruits, something that Outer Sect disciples had no qualification to enjoy. Only Elite Apprentices could have access to them.
Meng Hao put one down in front of the young woman.
Her expression was complex. After having a night of rest, she seemed to have come to terms with her current situation. She still felt apprehensive, though, unsure of how she had attracted the attention of this Chosen of Heaven. She also wasn’t sure why he had changed her entire fate with that single sentence.
“Try the Spirit Fruits,” he said, popping one into his mouth. “The flavor is incredible.” He handed another over to her.
She hesitated for a moment, then accepted and bit down onto one of the fruits. Suddenly, her eyes began to glow, and when she squinted, they looked like two crescent moons.
“Good?” asked Meng Hao with a smile.
The young woman’s face flushed, and she nodded.
“The Outer Sect is pretty chaotic,” he continued, looking up into the sky. “I’ll help you pay back the debts you owe.”
The young woman’s hand stopped in mid-air, clutching at a Spirit Fruit. She bowed her head, saying nothing in response.
“Those Outer Sect disciples who have been treating you poorly have already been taken care of,” he went on softly.
The young woman’s body trembled slightly. After a long moment passed, she looked up at Meng Hao, almost in a daze.
“Why?” she asked. “Why are you treating me like this? I’m just an ordinary Outer Sect Disciple, and you’re…. Why?”
Meng Hao shook his head but didn’t say anything.
“Is it because of Xu Qing? Who is she?” the young woman asked. She rose to her feet and looked at him, her gaze filled with stubbornness. She wanted to know the answer.
Meng Hao was quiet for a moment. Today was the third day, and unless something unforeseen occurred, Xu Qing should be waking up soon. Then this young woman would disappear. After all… she had long since already perished.
Seeing the look in her eyes, Meng Hao’s eyes slowly grew blank, as if he was recalling the past. In his mind’s eye, he saw the events outside the Rebirth Cave, the killing of Ji Hongdong, and Xu Qing’s tears. He saw himself raising his hand to wipe them away. He heard those voices from years ago.
“We’re safe now. No one will know your secret.”
“Meng Hao. Will we… see each other again?”
“Don’t cry. There’s a long road ahead. Who knows when it is that we will meet again.”
Meng Hao still remembered how he had been about to turn around that day, when a warm, supple body embraced him from behind.
“I’ll wait for you.” 1
Xu Qing’s voice, filled with determination, was strong enough to last through past, present, and future lives.
“You could think of Xu Qing as your next life,” Meng Hao said softly. “Regarding the two of us… we have an agreement to meet each other in the next life.”
Note from Er Gen: This chapter is short by a thousand characters because I feel that for this chapter, it’s just the right amount. If I force myself to write more, I’m afraid it will lose its charm
1.The scene recalled between Meng Hao and Xu Qing happened in chapter 306 ↩