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Chapter 289 - If Life Could Be Like the Moment When We First Met (Part Two)
Time seemed to endlessly flow by, but in actuality, it passed very slowly. From the time Xu Yourong carried him into the forest to the conclusion of that revolting battle, not much time had passed. The Garden of Zhou's sun had not risen much above the horizon. The morning wind and the morning light together fell upon the forest. Cut into every size and shape, the morning wind slowly swept up the fallen leaves, causing them to softly rustle, while the morning light suffused them with every kind of light.
Chen Changsheng gazed off into the distance in silence.
He had none of Zhexiu's natural instinct for danger, nor did he have the ability to use Xu Yourong's Fated Star Plate calculate the dangers ahead. In those far off places bathed in the morning light, he saw no figures, nor did he sense any danger, much less see any of his enemies. But he felt that it was too quiet over there. While silence was not a sufficient reason, he still felt that something was off.
Although there were Three Thousand Scriptures of the Great Dao, he only cultivated the Dao of following his heart. Those two demon beauties were no doubt still chasing after him, and he could possibly meet a treacherous and terrifying human cultivator like that old freak. And since he had no way of protecting himself, he could only rely on his senses, rely on the only Dao he had cultivated over his more than ten years of life.
So without any hesitation, he turned and began walking through the forest to the other direction. His expression was somewhat hurried, but his feet were incapable of hurrying. This was because he was still severely injured and was now carrying the white-clothed girl on his back. But even more importantly, it was because his body was much colder than usual. His breathing and heartbeat were at least a third slower than normal. His eyebrows and the hair around his forehead were once again covered with frost. The dew which stained his shirt had frozen into flakes of snow, which were blown off his body by the morning wind, only for dew to rapidly freeze on his body once more, and then once again be blown off by the wind. They fluttered down behind him, leaving behind a very clear trail through the forest.
Not long after he left, heralded by a chilly air, Nanke and the zither-playing old man arrived at that place. Her gaze moved across that trail of frost into the distance. How sharp was her gaze that she could so casually glance at this trail and obtain so much information? Chen Changsheng had already awakened and he was carrying Xu Yourong on his back as they made their escape. His injuries had clearly not recovered and his steps seemed somewhat slow.
A hint of confusion appeared on the slightly wide space between her brows. According to what her maids had told her, Chen Changsheng had been heavily injured last night. He should still be hanging on the brink of death, so how did he so quickly recover? Her spiritual sense had also sensed Bai Hai's corpse in that cave, but she had no time to find out what had happened there. She thrust out her arms to both sides of her body.
Those two demon beauties transformed into two lights, vanishing without a trace. A pair of green wings appeared behind her back, then with the whistling of the wind, she disappeared. The zither-playing old man looked out of the forest and confirmed that the mysterious and dangerous plain was not far from here. He couldn't help but crease his brow as he guessed at what might occur. But he had no other choice than to follow.
The forest gave way to the shore of a pool of water. Green patches of reeds took up his entire vision like they were about to fill the horizon, but in fact, the moment he passed this patch of reeds, he would be in the plains. The cold Qi had helped Chen Changsheng suppress his wounds, but it had also greatly slowed his metabolism. Right now, his heartbeat and breathing were far too slow, so he also walked very slowly. It had taken him a long time before he finally reached this point.
He did not know that not too long ago, Xu Yourong had carried him out of that patch of reeds across from him. He only knew that if he continued forward, he might mistakenly end up in the terrifying plains. And yet he had no other choice except to follow his heart. Following the path upon which he had come, he made his way into the wetland. As his body moved through the water, it brought ice along with it.
He walked into the patch of reeds, and just as he was beginning to ponder whether he should risk going forward or turning to another direction, the sound of the wind on the shore told him that there was no need to think.
With a cold and clear wind, the surroundings were suffused with a pure green light, robbing all the trees and reeds of their color.
A little girl with a cold expression appeared on the shore. She stared at him expressionlessly as if he were a cricket or an ant.
Seeing her disheveled hair and bloodstained clothes, and most importantly of all, her appearance, Chen Changsheng was startled, like he had seen something that was somewhat surprising. Besides, he was not holding his dagger right now because he knew that the difference in strength between him and this demon expert was too great. Since battle was meaningless, he chose to be silent, thus giving off a very calm appearance.
He had always been very calm and steady. No matter what big thing occurred, he would never grow melancholy, nor would he ever lose his head in panic. This part of his character allowed him to possess a temperament far surpassing his age, and also made people feel surprised. Xu Yourong was surprised, and now Nanke was also surprised. She did not believe that this was the youth who had received such deep favor from the Pope, so she asked, "So you are Chen Changsheng?"
Chen Changsheng had never met her, nor did he know that she was the Demon Lord's most beloved daughter. However, yesterday on the lakeshore, he had heard Zhexiu mention that name. From the look on Zhexiu's face back then, he was very certain that this little girl was extremely frightening. Similarly, he did not know that her target was the white-clothed girl on his back. He thought that she had come to kill him, so he was even more vigilant than usual. But he was also childishly happy—to think that not too long ago, he was just a young and unremarkable Daoist fresh from the countryside of Xining Village, but now he had already matured into a target worthy of even the attentions of the most frightening and powerful demons. As he thought this way, he returned the question. "So you are Nanke?"
This was the first time that Chen Changsheng would meet Nanke, and this was also the first time Nanke would meet Chen Changsheng. In the future, they would represent the humans and demons and meet many times on the battlefield, engaging in hand-to-hand combat and creating a not at all interesting story that would only cause one to feel exhausted. More than once, Nanke would think back to that morning they first met and would often feel a faint sense of remorse. She would think to herself, if I had been a bit more decisive that day and not listened to any of his nonsense, then maybe I really could have killed him there, and then there would be none of these troubles or stories.
But time would always fly like an arrow. The Nanke of the present had no way of knowing of the future. As expected, her focus was still on Xu Yourong, even though she was clearly unconscious. As for Chen Changsheng, he was just a person she was talking to. "If you put her down, I'll spare your life."
When she said these words, Nanke maintained her cold expression, but the two maids at her side were rather shocked. They thought to themselves, what's happened to the master? To actually negotiate with a human, and it seems like she's just going to let Chen Changsheng go like this? The heated battle they fought by the lakeside yesterday… didn't this mean it would be meaningless?
The reason they thought this way was because they did not know that last night in that battle on the peak of Sunset Valley, Nanke had also been severely injured. More importantly, Nanke could clearly see that since Chen Changsheng was standing on that patch of reeds, he could at any time escape into the water. Within that seemingly clear and empty water, there was actually a dividing line, and on the other side of this line was the plains.
Nanke did not want Chen Changsheng to think that he had already taken the path of no return and thus jump into the water, because even she feared that boundless and mysterious plain.
Hearing Nanke's words, Chen Changsheng was rather shocked. It was only then that he realized that her target was not him—but he definitely could not leave Xu Yourong behind and escape with his own life. At this time, he still did not know that the white-clothed girl on his back was Xu Yourong, nor was he accustomed to carrying things on his back as he walked like Xu Yourong was. It was just that he had promised her that he would not abandon her.
"I can't do that," he said very truthfully to Nanke, then he looked at her appearance and seemed to hesitate.
In Nanke's somewhat dull and indifferent eyes appeared some confusion. She did not understand where Chen Changsheng's odd expression came from, so she asked, "What's wrong?"
Chen Changsheng thought it over, then said, "You are ill."
At these words, Nanke's eyebrows suddenly leapt up, just like a little girl who had gotten up early in the morning to gather a basket of pigweed and was snatched away by her drunken neighbor. She was very angry and her voice suddenly got higher. "You're the one that's ill! Your entire family is ill! Everyone in the Orthodox Academy is ill!"
The furious shouts of this childish yet exceptionally cold little girl resounded throughout the peaceful reeds.
The two maids were silent. They didn't know why their master had suddenly gotten so angry, nor why Chen Changsheng's words had triggered such a huge response.
Hearing the stream of shouts and curses from the shore, Chen Changsheng felt somewhat helpless. He thought to himself that if she did not insist on asking, he would not have said anything.
However, the anger and sensitivity meant that his conclusion was true. Chen Changsheng suddenly thought that perhaps he could use this matter in exchange for the chance to leave. He waited for Nanke's sharp and angry voice to gradually die down, then very sincerely said, "I don't know whether the spies you demons have placed in the capital have grasped who my teacher was. If you do know, then you should also know that my medical skills are not bad."
Nanke's eyes were exceptionally cold, like she was looking at a dead man. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Chen Changsheng mentally adjusted his choice of words so that even a demon could understand, then continued, "There's a problem with your bloodline. If it is not quickly treated, then when the divine soul within you awakens for the second time, there is a very high possibility of a backlash. Even if you manage to protect your life, it's very probable that you will end up as an imbecile."
Nanke's face paled. Perhaps it was from the aftershocks of last night's battle, or perhaps it was because of his words. Yet her voice was still cold and indifferent. "I don't know what you're talking about."
As a Demon Princess and Black Robe's only disciple, even if the Garden of Zhou was annihilated before her eyes, her expression would probably not change in the slightest. But she was still young, so even if she thought she had concealed her true emotions superbly, she did not know that Chen Changsheng, her two maids, and even the zither-playing old man had heard a problem in her words.
If Chen Changsheng's words had no influence on her, then why did she repeat the same phrase twice? Her Highness was ill? And it seemed like a very troublesome disease? The faces of the two maids grew deathly pale as they thought to themselves, if we know this secret, what sort of consequence will this incur? The zither-playing old man's face grew rather unsightly.