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Qiguan Cheng Da didn’t let any of his bad mood slip and instead pretended to be generous. “Don’t think too much about it, Junior Martial Brother Zhong. As long as the Sect Master got the information he needed all is well. Making a trip more or less doesn’t matter.”
“Senior Martial Brother Qiguan …” Jing Yi’s bad conscience became even worse.
Qiguan Cheng Da smiled even more brightly. “Ah, that’s right. On my way back, I happened upon something interesting. It doesn’t hold much value to me since my cultivation base is already higher but it might be beneficial to Junior Martial Brother Zhong.”
“Ah?” Jing Yi hurriedly shook his head. “We made such trouble for you. How could I …”
“As I said, you don’t have to worry about that. Sometimes missions are just like that.” He took out the Jade Gathering Beast that had already started to rapidly take in the spiritual energy in their surroundings and held it in front of Jing Yi. “Here, take it.”
“We’re disciples of the same sect. It’s only natural to help each other out. And as I said it’s nothing I can use anyway. Considering our relationship I really can’t think of anyone I’d rather want to have it.” He forced the beast into Jing Yi’s hands with a smile.
Indeed. With how their relationship was, he couldn’t imagine who he’d rather want to see caught up in the kind of accident this beast might bring about. Ah, he just hoped it would happen soon so that he could enjoy the show.
Faced with Qiguan Cheng Da’s seemingly sincere attitude Jing Yi didn’t have the heart to reject it. He solemnly held it and took a closer look. Just like Qiguan Cheng Da, he couldn’t understand what he saw at first. This was … a stone? At least it was hard and cold to the touch. The smooth surface felt different though. It reminded him of the white bracelet his grandfather had given him when he was a child.
Just when Jing Yi wanted to lift his head and thank Qiguan Cheng Da the stone turned to the side and looked up at him with shimmering eyes. This … What was this? A living stone? He wanted to ask Qiguan Cheng Da but the stone surprisingly grew a few pairs of legs and started to climb from his hand up onto his sleeve and then further up until it reached his shoulder. The next thing he knew the thing had grabbed onto a few strands of his hair and climbed even further up.
Jing Yi froze, his hands shaking a bit.
Would it be really rude to grab the gift of his Senior Martial Brother and fling it away? Because right now he really wanted to do just that. Ah, he really wished Qiu Ling was here right now. He definitely wouldn’t have any qualms about doing that.
Jing Yi took a careful glance to the side while he tried to ignore the sensation of something climbing up his hair. His fiance was still talking with the Grandmaster and his expression was solemn. It seemed what his Master had wanted to talk about with him was a grave matter. So he couldn’t count on Qiu Ling’s shamelessness to solve this.
While Jing Yi fretted about the thing crawling up his hair, Qiu Ling, Grandmaster Zhangsun, as well as Yu Jin, all stiffened and looked around.
The opening of a secret realm was preceded by a disturbance of spiritual energy since that was what had hidden it before. In short, a realm was created in another dimension and then protected by a layer of spiritual energy. Part of this layer was also used as an anchor so that the realm wasn’t completely cut off from the dimension from where its owner had originally created it.
Thus when this layer shifted it would result in a disturbance that could even be detected outside of the protected dimension, namely at the place that was connected to the dimension. When the disturbance grew large enough the layer protecting the realm might split open and allow passage for a limited amount of time before the shift was completed and the layer closed up again.
The way the disturbance grew was always the same: It started out as a single point that churned and whirled around itself, the faster it turned the more it concentrated in its middle while simultaneously attracting spiritual energy from the surroundings.
It had been the same this time, too, but right now something strange was going on. The spiritual energy that had been attracted by the swirling mass of the shifting layer slowly frayed out at the edges, drifting in another direction. At first, it just seemed as if it dissipated as if perhaps the layer protecting the secret realm just wasn’t strong enough to attract it for long. But all of the spiritual energy disappeared in the same direction. Like a thin thread being unfurled from a bobbin. Even worse, this thread seemed to knot at a place not far from the original energy disturbance and thus created a second one!
Qiu Ling had no idea what this actually meant. He just felt the energy around him shift in an uncomfortable way. It was somehow tensed as if the air would rip apart the very next moment and reveal the secret realm the Sect Master had mentioned in his letter.
He was actually happy when he thought about that possibility. Wouldn’t his so-called Master stop talking then and let him go back to his beloved so that they could enter the secret realm together? Even though it was indeed worrisome that Jin Ling had appeared at the Yun Zou Sect, there was nothing he could do about it right now.
At least there, he wouldn’t be able to use the connection to his nephew. If they prepared well, his beloved would be much safer. Mn, exploring that secret realm together also wasn’t bad. Jin Ling certainly wouldn’t follow and they would be alone with each other. Ah, it would be just like when they traveled together, only better!
Grandmaster Zhangsun frowned even more. “Something is wrong.”
Qiu Ling blinked and instinctively took a look back at his beloved. Jing Yi … indeed looked like something was off. Qiu Ling hurried over. “Jing Yi, my love, what —” Qiu Ling’s eyes widened when Jing Yi turned his head. He recognized that thing that was trying to climb up his beloved’s head. But even more alarming was the fact that the mark of the dragon on his forehead had started to show. This thing was obviously not just trying to take in the spiritual energy of the surrounding!
He lunged forward but before he could reach Jing Yi to kill that thing somebody else charged over. Qiu Ling’s gaze met Yu Jin’s before the other struck out his palm. A wave of spiritual energy hit him that actually made Qiu Ling fly back several dozen meters. He leaped to his feet again but it was too late.
Yu Jin had shoved Jing Yi to the ground and plucked off that Jade Gathering Beast without caring that some of that black hair the beast had clung to came off as well. With a swift motion, he tossed it as far into the air as he could, even sending another palm strike imbued with spiritual energy.
Despite his effort, the spiritual energy the Jade Gathering Beast had accumulated still went awry. It exploded, the shockwave knocked the disciples off their feet. Even Qiu Ling had to raise his arm to block the gales and barely remained standing.
The spiritual energy lashed out and merged with the disturbance around the secret realm. For a moment, the layer surrounding it vanished, revealing the secret realm before closing for good. What was left behind was a bloody scene filled with the agonizing screams of the Yun Zou Sect’s disciples.
Qiu Ling couldn’t care less. He dashed over, his heart beating frantically. He turned around and looked everywhere but couldn’t see what he wanted to. His beloved … had vanished. Together with that man that had hindered him from approaching and that definitely wasn’t just a human.
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