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For some reason, Chen Changsheng spoke much slower than usual, as if his tongue was tied, making him seem both slow and stupid.
Xu Yourong did not answer him. With great effort, she lifted herself off the ground to sit up, then feebly leaned against the cave wall. Then she lifted her head, this simple action causing her face to pale even more, and looked at the already dead Bai Hai. She examined his elderly face, speckled with a rainbow of colors, in silence.
The previous moment had been the most danger she had ever been in for her entire life. She had discarded the Tong Bow, faked an attack, then inevitably lost, purposely letting Bai Hai capture her. All this was so that she could have this Setting Sun Sect elder suck her blood, because only she knew that her true Phoenix blood was mixed with the poison that Nanke had implanted within her last night.
This extremely risky and disgusting plan had really succeeded, but just as she had thought in that moment of remorse, if Bai Hai had not been pushed away from her neck by that hand at the very last moment, then Bai Hai really could have sucked her clean of her last true Phoenix essence blood before dying of poison, and then she would really have died.
Thinking about this, she finally turned to Chen Changsheng, her right hand drawing the Tong Bow close to her body. She wore a cold expression, giving off an unapproachable feeling.
This delicate young lady had a cold expression and a noble air seemed to hang about her, making her seem exceedingly aloof. If this were any normal youth, they would feel ashamed upon gazing at this strange character, and then would secretly be filled with admiration. But Chen Changsheng felt neither of these two feelings. In the capital, he had met with Mo Yu and Luoluo many times and was very used to this noble and pure atmosphere, so he appeared very calm. And yet for some reason, he felt like this young lady gave him a very comfortable feeling, like a spring forest after a rain.
Xu Yourong was somewhat astonished by his calmness, but was also satisfied. Without any movement, her longbow disappeared.
Chen Changsheng stared blankly at her, then recalled some of the words that had faintly entered his ear while he was unconscious.
This young lady was actually one of the legendary elves?
It was said that countless years ago, there was no vast and boundless ocean between the Great Western Continent and the Eastern continent and that they were connected. Back then, the Great Western Continent was called the Great Western Mountain Range. A tribe of spirits once lived in the Great Western Mountain Range, and this tribe married with the demi-humans, leaving behind many descendants of mixed blood. Later on when the Great Western Continent split from the Eastern Continent, these mixed bloods remained on the Eastern Continent. Because they had elegant (秀) appearances and swift (灵) movements, they were called the elves (秀灵).
(TL: The actual name of this race is the Xiuling (秀灵), but in terms of description, they are basically elves.)
Besides their fresh and elegant appearance, they also inherited a love of nature from the spirit tribe. The elves were most known for their archery. Every elf was an expert in the bow and arrow. In the war between the demi-humans and the demons, the elves played an extremely important role, and it was precisely for this reason that they became the demons' most despised opponents. Finally, two thousand years ago, because of the Wolf Tribe's betrayal, the ancestral mountain of the elves was besieged by the demon army. The demi-humans were not in time to save them and the elves were massacred, their race nearly exterminated. Only a few young elves managed to escape from those mountains by way of a narrow underground passage.
If the story had ended here, perhaps it would have been for the better, but the fact was that those elves that had escaped the iron hoof of the demon army suffered an even more miserable fate. Because of their elegant appearance and enchanting bodies, those elves that could not be brought back to the two banks of the Red River very naturally became the prey for many very powerful figures. Whether it was the nobles of Xuelao City or the human nobles, they all wanted to have the glory of an elf as their slave.
Almost one thousand years ago, when the humans allied with the demi-humans against the demons, the miserable fate of the elves finally improved. The Taizong Emperor issued a decree banning the buying and selling of elves, but many of the mansions of the aristocracy still concealed many elves. Only when the chief princess of the Great Western Continent married the White Emperor and then established a relationship with the Tianhai Divine Empress did the enforcement of this decree incessantly increase in ferocity, finally leading to a true turn for the better. After several of the great families of the south were completely exterminated by the Divine Empress for raising and killing dozens of elves, this phenomenon finally disappeared from the human world.
But after experiencing so many years of slavery and torment, the already few elves became even rarer. At present, the vast majority of the elves lived within White Emperor City, while some had crossed the ocean to the Great Western Continent. In the past few decades, whether in the capital or Wenshui City, the figures of elves were very rarely seen.
Knowing that the young lady was an elf, the gaze that Chen Changsheng directed towards her could not help but be filled with sympathy. He thought to himself, no wonder she, with only a bow and arrows, could enter the Garden of Zhou. At the same time, he felt more relieved at that clear and cold resentment in her appearance. If he were an elf, he would also not have a good impression of humans.
He had just woken up and there were many things he did not understand. He didn't know how he had ended up in this cave. Last night before he had slipped into unconsciousness, just what was that light he saw?
He asked, "Did you save me?"
Xu Yourong calmly replied, "You don't need to thank me."
Chen Changsheng did not quite know how to respond. He thought to himself, didn't I just save you a few minutes ago? After staring blankly for a while, he asked, "May I ask who you are?"
Xu Yourong was somewhat stunned, and only then did she understand that he did not recognize her—it must be known that on a normal day, no matter where she went, she would always be recognized. This was because her temperament was so unusual, but even more importantly, because she was born beautiful.
This had nothing to do with narcissism, it was an objective fact. The entire continent regarded her as the number one beauty, and even the demon nobles of Xuelao City had no objection to this.
She wanted to ask, could it be that you don't recognize me? But then she remembered that before she entered the Garden of Zhou, she had exchanged appearances with one of the priests of the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green...because she did not want to meet that guy.
Upon thinking of that guy, she felt even more exhausted, and softly said, "Can you walk?"
Chen Changsheng's injuries had not yet recovered. He had just woken up and his body was weak all over, but he did not want to be a burden and so he said, "Yes."
"Very good, then you'll carry me." Xu Yourong calmly added, "You are not allowed to abandon me."
Chen Changsheng once again stared blankly, thinking to himself, so originally it had this meaning. He circulated his true Qi to confirm his situation, then nodded his head.
He did so very reluctantly. It was not that he was not willing, but the situation of his body was simply too terrible.
Xu Yourong knew very well the current status of his body, but she gave no words of consolation or encouragement. In her view, those cliché encouragements were meaningless wastes of strength.
"I've lost a lot of blood. I'm very weak," she added.
Chen Changsheng thought to himself, when I woke up, I just happened to see that old freak sucking your blood, but back then you had a very calm look in your eyes. Moreover, that old freak soon died from the poison in your blood. It's very obvious that this was a trap that you laid for him. For you to say this to me right now, what's the meaning behind it? Another thing is, just why did that old freak want your blood anyway?
Xu Yourong recognized that he was confused and said somewhat helplessly, "I think it's too disgusting."
Puzzled, Chen Changsheng asked, "And then?"
Xu Yourong said, "I don't want to remember that scene, but also I'm rather weak and I'm about to pass out."
With these words, she did not give Chen Changsheng any chance to protest or ask questions. She straightforwardly closed her eyes, then leaned against the cave wall and passed out.
Chen Changsheng was caught rather unprepared by this unexpected change. After thinking it over, he felt that what this young lady had said was too reasonable, so he had no choice but to accept.
He did not immediately take her away, as he still had to steady his breathing and recover his strength. He also had to carefully examine his body. Last night on the lake at the other side of the cold pool, he had battled with those two demon women for a long time, and his internal organs had suffered severe injuries. He did not want to carry this young lady out of the cave and then immediately spit up blood and die.
When the mind arose from the sea of consciousness to the outside, this was the spiritual sense. When it went in the opposite direction, this was Meditative Introspection.
He saw the lake outside his Ethereal Palace, but it was different from before—that sphere of water formed by the lake water was mixed with lots of ice and emitted a frigid air. This made the Spirit Mountain upon which the Ethereal Palace sat appear unclear. Occasionally, a strong wind would blow across, causing some of the ice to slowly descend. After who knows how long had passed, the wasteland was covered with a shallow layer of white.
Last night during his battle, he had burned up nearly all of his true essence and that mantle of snow over the wasteland had melted into nothing long ago. And he could not sense his Fated Star in the Garden of Zhou, so he worried about being unable to recover his true essence. When he saw this scene, it wasn't sufficient to say that he was pleasantly surprised. Only, why was the lake around his Ethereal Palace so cold?
His spiritual sense passed through the icy surface of the lake and proceeded deeper, then… he saw something that deeply moved him.
A thin Black Dragon was peacefully sleeping in the lake, ceaselessly releasing its Qi. The Qi was so cold and so pure.
Only then did Chen Changsheng realize that this was just like that first time he underwent Meditation in the underground space and self-immolated; the Black Dragon had once again saved his life. The coldness emitted from deep within the dragon soul helped him recover his true essence and lower his pulse, simultaneously ceaselessly healing the countless cuts on his internal organs. Compared to back then, though, the Black Dragon now was many times smaller. Its curled-up body in the lake was just like a snoozing child and was very cute.
The Black Dragon was right now a mere spiritual soul. In order to save him, it had inevitably paid an enormous price, causing it to be in such a deep sleep.
Without it, he would probably have already died. He looked at the jade ruyi that had appeared on his hands in silence.
Afterwards, he looked at the unconscious white-clothed girl leaning against the cave wall. He did not know what had happened last night, but he could roughly guess that if it were not for her, he would also have already been dead. The girl was an elf, and although it was said that humans and demi-humans walked separate paths, he had always been close to demi-humans. Even if this girl had not saved his life, he still would not have abandoned her, not to mention the current situation.
Only, how would he carry her away? After he recovered some of his strength, he kneeled down by the white-clothed girl. He extended his hands and tried out a few positions, but he always felt them to be inappropriate. At this tense moment, he was not like some pedantic old virtuous nobleman, worrying about the differences between sexes. It was just that he really did not have much experience in this aspect—should he grab her by the belt and carry her out? Support her by the arm and travel together? Carry her horizontally in his bosom? In the end, the simplest method was the most reliable. He brought her up to his back, and then his two hands grabbed her thighs.
Carrying her on his back, he walked out of the cave. After examining his surroundings, he began to walk on the fallen leaves of the forest, slowly making his way to the foothills. He knew the geography of the Garden of Zhou very well, so he knew that if he continued straight forward, he would eventually arrive at the Mountainside Whispering Wood. Yet he had not even arrived at the winding 'Z' of the mountain path before he stopped.