“They’re so annoying. They follow me around every day,” complained Qing Yuan, after glancing outside the window and laughing.
“Haha, I never thought I saved Green Sun Empire’s second prince,” commented Yang Tian.
“Second prince?… Man, Brother Yang, what good is having more power and authority? I’d rather be without this power; I prefer being free and unfettered. What’s more important than being happy?”
“Haha, is the power that everyone envies not worth a mention to you, Brother Qing? How does one have freedom without having the means to protect things they value?”
Perchance Qing Yuan assumed Yang Tian was free and unfettered. What he didn’t know was how much Yang Tian carried on his shoulders and how he survived all those years. His resentment had tormented him ever since the debacle.
“You’re probably unaware of the empire’s internal strife. Honestly speaking, Green Sun Empire is a powerful entity on the continent, but what good is that to me?” Qing Yuan had a nip of tea. “I’m just an ordinary man now. If it wasn’t for you, I might’ve lost my life last time. What good is having more power if I can’t even protect a woman? What good is it…?”
“That’s bizarre. How is the second prince of Green Sun Empire an ordinary individual?” pondered Yang Tian. “Green Sun Empire has a strong foundation; even a pig would have a sea of knowledge, so he should be able to get through a realm, right?”
Seeing through Yang Tian’s bewilderment, Qing Yuan told his trusted saviour in a preening tone, “Truth be told, I had quite the impressive potential when I was young. I started cultivating at eight years of age, reached Warrior Realm by the age of eleven and Profound Connection by the age of fifteen…”
Yang Tian: Brother, if you’re still alive, you should be at Battle King Realm now, right?
“What happened after?”
“After that,” began Qing Yuan. He got up, pulled out a bottle of alcohol out of nowhere and gulped a few mouthfuls. “I had great potential for cultivation and was quite strong. That was why father allowed me to travel when I was sixteen…” A sweet smile crept up on his face. “During my travels, I met a girl. I loved her, and she loved me. Her name was Xiaoqing. It’s a nice name. But she was Western Continent’s demon lord’s daughter!”
“Demonic Beast form…”
A spirit beast that has broken through Level Six can transform into a Level Seven Demonic Beast.
“Tell me,” said Qing Yuan, gulping alcohol and pacing back and forth in the room. “Tell me what’s so wrong about us being together. What’s the matter with it?”
Red face? Check. Acting crazy? Check. Clearly Qing Yuan had a bit to drink.
Yang Tian: Uh… it’d be wrong if there was nothing wrong.
Although demons and humans never fought any large-scale wars, there were frequent minor altercations between them. If a human could marry a demon, there was no question that it wasn’t a one-sided affair.
“Xiaoqing and I didn’t care about the demon lord’s protest and eloped. We also slept with each other.” Qing Yuan suddenly looked to the ceiling and laughed heartily as if he was a mad man then sat back down. “When the demon lord found me, he destroyed my qihai, effectively turning me into a cripple.” Qing Yuan slammed the table. Face red and eyes angrily darting back and forth, he brayed, “But the geezer went and locked Xiaoqing up! I haven’t seen her in years! He bloody locked his daughter up! Brother Yang, he’s inhumane. Wait, he’s a beast to begin with!”
“Brother Qing, Green Son Empire’s has lots of knowledge. Can’t you find an item to repair your qihai?” Yang Tian recalled that the reward offered for anyone who could find such an item.
“Brother Yang, you aren’t playing with me, are you? An item that could repair one’s qihai is too difficult to find. Most of them have gone extinct. Even if we have the money to afford it, we would need to be able to find it first and foremost. Plus, my father is still searching for one. But alas…” Qing Yan went limp in his chair. Despite his legs trembling and bitterness showed in his eyes, he kept guzzling his wine tearfully. “I used to be one of the empire’s most talented cultivators, yet now… Haha… Ah… The princes used to look up to me, yet now humiliate me and insult me for being a cripple behind my back. Only Big Brother treats me sincerely.”
“Cripple? I was a cripple for seven years, as well. It’s a horrible feeling. Every day consists of dealing with ridicule and insults.”
Yang Tian regretted not meeting Qing Yuan sooner. He turned around to find Qing Yuan asleep. “Maybe he’s held in his emotions for a long time, and I happened to be the one person he could share those feelings with. Consider yourself lucky. Consider this Fire Dragon Divine Fruit my repayment for yesterday’s favour. Neither of us owes each other from now. Whether or not it’s enough to help treat your damaged qihai will depend on what fate has in store for you.”
Yang Tian placed down a jade box. Fire dragon divine fruit was valuable, but why not do Qing Yuan a favour. He had offended Li Clan, and his foster father needed to be cared for.
“Qing Yuan is drunk. He’s sleeping inside,” Yang Tian told the blinking guard.
“Sleeping at this hour?” the leader in black asked. Feeling sorry for Qing Yuan. The fearless second prince who was once renowned is now…”
Lin Yuan sent off the crowd from the main hall and then expressed, “Young Tian, I shall support whatever it is you do. I’m old, so I’m not afraid to die.”
Yang Tian bent his knees and kowtowed three times. Lin Yuan didn’t stop him because he could receive the kowtows with integrity. Yang Tian suppressed his tears and smiled. “Father, I will be back.”
Lin Yuan smiled proudly as he watched Yang Tian depart because he firmly believed that Yang Tian was destined for the bigger world, one where he his talents would be needed more than Wild Cloud City. He had an intuitive feeling that Yang Tian would shake up the continent on his journey.
Eagles only grow strong wings after their baptism in blood and fire. With strong wings, an eagle can soar to the nine heavens!