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When dawn finally arrived, Yun Che sucked in a deep breath of dew-mixed air and felt his mind clearing up instantly.
He released his spiritual perception and scanned for Qianye Ying’er. To his surprise, he found her at the Azure Cloud Continent probably scouting out the dark abyss below Cloud’s End Cliff.
“I was wondering why she’s been missing for so long. That’s where you were?” Yun Che mumbled to himself before calling out, “Yan Two!”
There was a black blur, and Yan Two’s scrawny and crooked figure bowed before Yun Che. “What are your instructions, master?”
“Did you detect anything unusual in the nearby star realms?” Yun Che asked.
“I have meticulously scanned all nearby star realms multiple times, but didn’t find anything that may be constituted as a threat, master. You have nothing to worry about, master,” Yan Two answered carefully.
“Very well.” Yun Che nodded, but his voice turned colder. “Remember, no one except those close to me are allowed to enter this star realm. Chase away the first offenders, and crush those who refuse to listen.”
“Yes. I will never forget his instructions,” Yan Two replied while bowing his head.
“You may leave.”
The Yama Ancestor was gone just like that.
A sweet cry cut through the air the second Yan Two left. Then, he felt Xiao Lingxi thudding against his chest, hugging him tightly and filling his nose with her fragrant scent.
A smiling Yun Che returned the embrace and felt her slightly rapid breathing through her soft, moldable breasts. “You’ve been holding me like this for three days, Lingxi. Is it not enough yet?”
“I… I was just scared,” She said softly while keeping her face buried in Yun Che’s chest. “I accidentally fell asleep just now, and when I woke up… I was afraid that it would all be just a dream.”
Five years were as brief as a flash to a denizen of the God Realm, but to those who missed him deeply and were worried for him, it might as well be an infinite period of suffering.
“Lingxi,” Yun Che said softly, “I will never, ever worry you all again.”
“… Mn,” she responded, but still didn’t let go of him until another familiar cry reached them from afar.
“I’m here, brother-in-law!”
Xiao Lingxi finally moved away from Yun Che and took a moment to straighten his clothes. She then said, “I’ll… I’ll go visit dad and Yongning.”
Yun Che’s expression turned complicated as Xia Yuanba’s aura came closer and closer. They had just met the day before yesterday, so it made no sense for Yuanba to be moving this urgently. He knew exactly why that was the case though.
Yun Che blurred and appeared directly in front of Xia Yuanba. “You’re here, Yuanba.”
Xian Yuanba braked in midair before examining Yun Che with a critical and excited eye. “The entire Profound Sky Continent has heard of your return by now, but I bet they have no idea what your new status means. Even I’m still struggling with the concept of the great emperor of the God Realm for the past couple of days.”
“Before I forget, are you leaving anytime soon?”
“No.” There was a hint of self-pride behind Yun Che’s smile as he declared, “There is nothing in this world that can control me anymore.”
“Hehe! As expected of my brother-in-law!” Xia Yuanba let out a chuckle before turning serious. “So… how is my sister? Why hasn’t she come back with you?”
In the end, what goes up must come down.
The only reason Xia Yuanba hadn’t asked the day before yesterday was because he didn’t want to disturb his reunion with his family.
Now though, even he couldn’t find an excuse to delay this any longer.
“Yuanba,” Yun Che’s expression turned serious, “What I’m going to say next is going to hurt, but I hope—”
“Is my sister dead?” Xia Yuanba asked suddenly.
“…” Yun Che stopped talking for a moment. Then, he met Xia Yuanba directly in the eye and nodded slowly. “Yes, she is.”
Yun Che wasn’t too surprised that Xia Yuanba had figured it out on his own. His repeated evasions of the question, his return without her by his side… Xia Yuanba was a slow man, but he wasn’t so slow that the worst possibility hadn’t crossed his mind.
Xia Yuanba’s eyes widened as he shook like a leaf. It took him a while to calm his manic breathing before he could squeeze out the other question, “What… what about my mother?”
“… she is also dead,” Yun Che answered simply and honestly.
Xia Yuanba shook again, and this time it took him five to six deep breaths before he finally calmed himself. “How… how did they pass away?”
Yun Che had prepared his answer long before Xia Yuanba had arrived. Slowly, he put his hands on the latter’s shivering shoulders and said, “Yuanba, you are the bearer of the Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins. Your future will not and shall not be confined to a small world like the Blue Pole Star.”
“In the future, I’m certain that you will carve a place for yourself in the God Realm. In fact, I’m certain that that future is closer than you imagine.”
“That is why I want you to seek out the truth by yourself. As you grow, I want you to use your eyes, your ears, your experience, your mind and your heart to figure out the ins and outs and decide for yourself what the truth really is instead of hearing it from me.”
Yun Che had been watching Xia Yuanba’s eyes all this time. He could see that his friend was listening to every word and calming down little by little.
“When a person has lost control of their emotions, they are often incapable of rational thought or self-control. I don’t want you to go through what I went through, so…”
Yun Che stopped there and exhaled slowly.
If Yun Che was anyone else, Xia Yuanba would’ve ignored the advice completely and kept pressing.
However, Yun Che was Yun Che, so he sucked in a deep breath and closed his eyes. A short while later, he reopened them and nodded. “Very well. Brother-in-law has never led me astray, so… I understand. I’ll do as you suggest.”
Xia Yuanba had always been like this. Be it in the past or now, he had always listened to his words. It was also why Yun Che felt more conflicted than before.
“Although I haven’t lingered in the God Realm for long, I must admit that the auras there were a great source of attraction to me. If I hadn’t made brother-in-law a promise, I might not have been able to resist the urge to revisit the God Realm.”
“I am aware that it is the influence of the Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins.”
It was natural for the bearer of the Tyrannical Emperor’s Divine Veins to desire greater power and challenges.
The chaotic emotions behind Xia Yuanba’s eyes slowly solidified into strong determination as he tightened his fists. “As you said, I shouldn’t limit myself to this world, so I won’t. I will enter the God Realm again once I’ve taken care of my responsibilities in Absolute Monarch Sanctuary.”
“Good!” Yun Che said with a strong nod.
“Before that though, can I ask for your help with something?” Xia Yuanba asked suddenly.
“Consider it done,” Partially motivated by the complex guilt and regret he was feeling, Yun Che replied without hesitation.
Xia Yuanba began, “I actually visited dad right before he came to see you. I had promised to tell him about mom and sister after I heard everything from you.”
Yun Che: “…”
Xia Yuanba continued with a downcast expression, “But well… as you may have noticed, I am just barely enduring the news myself, much less able to speak to dad about it, so…”
“I understand,” Yun Che answered. “I will visit Uncle Xia right away.”
“Thank you.” Xia Yuanba’s features relaxed a little. “I’m counting on you, brother-in-law.”
As promised, Yun Che sought out Xia Hongyi’s aura immediately after Xia Yuanba left. Then, he cut a hole in space itself and tried to make his way to the Black Moon Merchant Guild.
The space of a lower realm was as fragile as paper. Although Yun Che wasn’t well-versed in the laws of space, he had no problems traversing the space of Blue Pole Star.
“You’re meeting Xia Qingyue’s father?”
Right before he could take the step though, Chi Wuyao asked him the question and appeared next to him.
Clearly, she had heard his conversation with Xia Yuanba from beginning until the end.
“He’s Yuanba’s father to be exact,” Yun Che corrected in a somewhat awkward tone. “He was my senior, and he took good care of me since I was young. Even if I hadn’t made Yuanba the promise, I would’ve visited him eventually as his junior.”
“I’m coming with you.”
Chi Wuyao gave Yun Che no chance to turn her down. She grabbed his arm and half-dragged him into the spatial rift leading to the Black Moon Merchant Guild.
The Black Moon Merchant Guild was defended by countless barriers and restrictions, but of course they amounted to exactly nothing before Yun Che and Chi Wuyao. An instant later they appeared outside the courtyard Xia Hongyi had been staying in for the past years.
“Who… who are you people!?”
A Black Moon Attendant was guarding the courtyard entrance, and their sudden appearance had caught him off guard to say the least. In fact, he looked like he might die from shock when he really saw Yun Che’s face. A long time later, he finally returned to himself and stuttered out, “S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-spiritual Master Yun!”
“Tell your master that Yun Che has come to pay him a visit,” Yun Che ordered indifferently.
“Ah… ye… yes.” The Black Moon Attendant took a step and nearly stumbled on his feet. He had half-crawled into the courtyard before he ran back out with a stuttering answer, “G-g-general manager Xia invites you both in.”
Everyone on the Profound Sky Continent knew that Xia Hongyi was Yun Che’s father-in-law. Naturally, his status and treatment in the Black Moon Merchant Guild were much better than what they used to be.
Xia Hongyi didn’t look much different from how Yun Che had remembered him despite the passing years. His attire was humble and casual, and his eyes were keen but peaceful. He smiled just like all those years ago and greeted Yun Che, “It’s been too long, Che’er. I’m happy you came to visit me.”
“Uncle Xia.” He didn’t address him as father-in-law. His already complicated feelings somehow grew even more indescribable.
The killing had been justified, but it didn’t change the fact that he had killed his daughter.
Meanwhile, Chi Wuyao was scanning Xiao Hongyi with her spiritual perception.
The result both disappointed and confounded her. Xia Hongyi was a completely average person. In fact, he was below average if she were to judge him by his physique and profound way talent alone.
How on earth had someone like him sown a Moon God Emperor with the Heart of Snow Glazed Glass and Nine Profound Exquisite Body!?
They all took their seats after a short exchange of greetings, but Yun Che clearly didn’t wish to face Xia Hongyi for too long because he said, “Uncle Xia, to tell you the truth, I am here to kill two birds with one stone. I am here to visit you and to tell you about some things.”
“Is it Qingyue?” Xia Hongyi asked smilingly. “Yuanba told me a few years ago that you and her were in a distant space called the ‘God Realm’.”
“Yes, that is correct.” Yun Che nodded before continuing in as even a voice as he could manage, “What I wished to tell Uncle Xia in person, is that she passed away in the God Realm a year ago.”
“…” Xia Hongyi’s expression froze, and his eyes trembled with inexplicable emotions. A while later, he asked, “Where? Why?”
“She has fallen into a place called the Abyss of Nothingness in the God Realm of Absolute Beginning. She didn’t leave behind a body or a possession to remember her with.” Yun Che explained in a calm voice that even he found to be a bit unnatural, “As for why she passed away… I believe Yuanba will explain everything to you in time.”
Xia Hongyi closed his eyes for several breaths. When he reopened them, he said, “I understand.”
Yun Che couldn’t think of anything to say except, “I am sorry for your loss.”
Xia Hongyi shook his head a little before replying, “After the two of you were wed, and Qingyue officially joined Frozen Cloud Immortal Palace, I already felt like the two of us were living in completely separate worlds.”
“It was an utterly inexplicable yet clear feeling. And yet, it was the truth.”
“Did she lead a wonderful life?” he asked suddenly.
Caught off guard, Yun Che replied instinctively, “Yes. In fact… no woman has ever had a life as wonderful as hers.”
She was a lower realm girl who was born with the Heart of Snow Glazed Glass and Nine Profound Exquisite Body. She joined Frozen Cloud Immortal Palace at sixteen and became a god emperor at thirty. She was literally the youngest god emperor in the history of the God Realm.
Her sins and evils aside, her life was undeniably a wonderful one.
A bitter yet relieved smile crossed Xia Hongyi’s lips. “Then all is well. It is the path she chose; the life she picked. It may be a terribly short life, but if it was one that was trod without regrets, if she shone like the brightest moon during this time, then who am I to mourn for her?”
“…” Yun Che fell silent for a moment before replying, “I am both extremely glad and impressed that Uncle Xia is this accepting. I am sure Yuanba will be very glad to know of it.”
Chi Wuyao had been observing Xia Hongyi’s reaction from the beginning. She didn’t notice that her eyebrows had been scrunched into a frown that refused to fade away.
Xia Hongyi wasn’t an expert who could disregard everything in the pursuit of his profound way, nor was he a cruel ruler whose concubines and children littered across the country. He was just a perfectly average man with only one daughter to his name, and he had just learned that she was deceased.
Yun Che had been suicidal, depressed and borderline manic for years after his daughter’s “death”. On the other hand, Xia Qingyue’s father hadn’t lost control of his emotions, hadn’t pressed Yun Che’s for an answer, hadn’t grieved over her death…
He was so rational about it that it was almost like they were talking about the death of someone else’s daughter.
Was this really the reaction of a perfectly normal father?
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