Phoenix’s Requiem - Chapter 313
Chapter 313: The Mysterious Realm
Yun Ruoyan stared at Zhuo Yifeng, only now seeming to realize that there was something different about him. However, when she inspected him more closely, she noticed nothing other than the fact that he had grown taller and thinner.
“Do you know that Qingxue likes you?” Yun Ruoyan asked.
“Yes,” Zhuo Yifeng answered, tending to the fire.
“Then, do you like her?” Yun Ruoyan continued.
“Yes,” Zhuo Yifeng replied immediately.
“Oh.” Yun Ruoyan relaxed, as if a large weight had fallen from her shoulders. “Good.”
Zhuo Yifeng continued, “My sister and I have no living kin, and I am deeply grateful to the Lin family for taking us in. Qingxue and Qingchen treat us like siblings, and I’ll treat them in kind.”
“…” Yun Ruoyan sucked in the breath she had just exhaled. “No, no, that’s not what I mean! Do you like her the way a man loves a woman?”
“I must have misunderstood,” Zhuo Yifeng replied, continuing to tend to the fire. The glow of the fire reflected in his bright eyes, obscuring his true emotions.
By this point, Yun Ruoyan was getting a little anxious. “Zhuo Yifeng, I’m telling you, Qingxue truly likes you! Both I and Qingchen can see this, so if you really like her, then treat her well. Otherwise, stay away from her!”
Yun Ruoyan stared at Zhuo Yifeng, waiting for his response. It was a long while later when Zhuo Yifeng finally responded, “I can’t promise that.”
“Because Qingxue confessed to me and I rejected her, but she said she wouldn’t give up as long as I didn’t dislike her. Regardless of whether I like her or not, she requested that I give her a chance,” Zhuo Yifeng replied. “She told me she wanted to use her sincerity to convince me of her emotions.”
“What?” Yun Ruoyan felt suddenly weak and powerless. “She confessed to you and said something like that? What a foolish girl!”
“She really is, isn’t she?” Zhuo Yifeng smiled. Upon seeing that smile, she suddenly felt an indescribable discomfort.
“Zhuo Yifeng, no matter what, you can’t hurt Qingxue. She’s like my sister, and if you dare to hurt her, I won’t forgive you!” Yun Ruoyan replied seriously.
“This isn’t something I can promise.” Zhuo Yifeng turned back to Yun Ruoyan, as serious as she was. “The reason I left the Lin manor so early into the vacation was to get away from Qingxue, so she would have some time alone to cool down. However, when Qingxue returns to Kongming Academy a few days later, what do you think I should do?”
Zhuo Yifeng turned to Yun Ruoyan, his bright eyes almost luminescent in the darkness.
Yun Ruoyan huffed, standing up. “I don’t care! No matter what, if you hurt Qingxue, I won’t go easy on you!”
Yun Ruoyan was about to turn and leave when Zhuo Yifeng called out from behind, “Why not let me go to this mysterious realm with you? If Qingxue’s unable to see me for a prolonged period of time, she might cool down.”
Yun Ruoyan halted and turned back to Zhuo Yifeng. “This isn’t something I can promise. The first elder has to approve of the decision, so I’ll let you know once I hear back from him.”
When Yun Ruoyan left, Zhuo Yifeng sat back down in front of the firepit. A black shadow silently appeared by his side, and Zhuo Yifeng handed him a flask of alcohol.
“You gave my food to someone else,” the black-clad man commented as he took a swig.
Zhuo Yifeng prodded the fire with a stick, using so much force that it cracked and broke in two. He threw the pieces of the stick into the fire.
“Master,” Zhuo Yifeng called out, turning to the black-clad man. “If there’s something you like but can never take for yourself, and you have to watch her be stolen away by your nemesis, what would you do?”
The black-clad man stilled. It was a long time before he replied, staring pensively at Zhuo Yifeng all the while. “If it’s only a possession, then I’d do everything in my ability to snatch it back. But if it’s a person whose heart isn’t with you, then what’s the point of stealing her away?”
Zhuo Yifeng’s bright eyes dimmed. “I’m useless, Master, utterly useless.” Zhuo Yifeng’s head drooped, his voice pained. “I fell in love with a girl at first glance, but I never dared reveal a shred of affection toward her. She was so beautiful and elegant that, in front of her, I felt as small as a speck of dust. Master, I feel like a wretch.”
The black-clad man patted Zhuo Yifeng’s shoulders and handed him the flask of wine. Zhuo Yifeng took a big gulp, one that burned as it slid down his throat.
The black-clad man sighed. “Everyone’s a slave to their emotions. Isn’t that girl, Lin Qingxue, the same way toward you? Child, what’s yours will eventually be yours, and what’s not yours won’t be no matter how you pine for it.”
Zhuo Yifeng chuckled bitterly, draining half the wine in one gulp. He was turning a little dizzy, and he cradled his head as he smiled. “Master, is there anything that belongs to me? I seek revenge, but my enemy’s so strong I’ll never catch up to him even if I spend my entire life on it—and the girl, the woman I love, she married him before I could muster up the courage to confess! Master, I can’t stand this, I can’t stand this anymore!”
Zhuo Yifeng’s head slowly drooped against the black-clad man’s shoulders as he fell into a drunken sleep. The black-clad man sighed, took the flask of wine from him, and drained its last drops.
By the time Yun Ruoyan returned to the southern tower, Li Mo and the first elder were still inscribing the last two teleportation scrolls. By the time they finished, it would probably be dawn the next day.
When Li Mo noticed that Yun Ruoyan was just sitting in a daze, he thought her tired and had her go rest. Yun Ruoyan agreed, thinking that it wouldn’t be too late to mention Zhuo Yifeng’s request tomorrow instead.
The moment Yun Ruoyan left, a black shadow slid into the southern tower. The first elder and Li Mo had finally finished inscribing the two scrolls by then, and they both looked toward him. The black-clad man removed his hood and revealed a scarred face.
“Su Nan,” Li Mo called out, addressing the man. “Did something happen to my mother?”
“She’s perfectly well, Your Highness. I’m here with a request for my son, Zhuo Yifeng.”
The next day, by the time Yun Ruoyan woke up, Li Mo and the first elder had already finished inscribing all four teleportation scrolls.
“Li Mo, can I ask you for a favor?” Yun Ruoyan handed him a damp towel.
“Hmm?” Li Mo took the towel and started cleaning his face.
“I saw Zhuo Yifeng yesterday in the academy.” Yun Ruoyan recounted the conversation that she had with Zhuo Yifeng about Lin Qingxue. “That’s why I’d like to bring Zhuo Yifeng with us into this mysterious realm. Otherwise, I’d be worried about not being able to watch over Qingxue.”
“In that case, let’s bring him along.” Li Mo accepted without any fuss. “After all, we have four teleportation scrolls, so there’s definitely enough for him as well.”
As a result, Li Mo, Yun Ruoyan, and Zhuo Yifeng all stood in front of the all-seeing mirror at noon that day.
“I’m going to activate the all-seeing mirror’s teleportation capability now. When you enter the realm, you might appear in mid-air, so be prepared,” the first elder reminded them.
The all-seeing mirror also boasted teleportation capabilities, but it could only transport a limited number of people at once. Furthermore, because there was no corresponding array to receive them at their destination, they often appeared in mid-air rather than on the ground.
As a result, if there was to be a large group of people entering some trial grounds, it would be better to construct a teleportation array in advance instead.
Yun Ruoyan felt a beam of white light envelop her, one so bright that she closed her eyes reflexively. Then, a large gust of wind caused her hair and clothes to flutter, and then she became weightless.
As she drifted, Yun Ruoyan felt two hands grab her and ease her fall. The beam of light vanished, and when Yun Ruoyan opened her eyes, she found herself surrounded by a white cloud.
“Li Mo!” Yun Ruoyan called out, but the strong wind that rushed at her face stole the words from her mouth. She struggled to look to either side of her to see Li Mo and Zhuo Yifeng by her side, each grasping one of her hands.
The moment the three of them passed through the cloud cover, Yun Ruoyan saw a lush scenery filled with blues and greens underneath her. Sword aura gleamed under both Li Mo and Zhuo Yifeng’s feet as the three of them stopped falling. Li Mo took Yun Ruoyan’s waist, Zhuo Yifeng let go, and Yun Ruoyan landed in Li Mo’s lap.
“I can’t believe that it looks even prettier in-person than what we saw from the all-seeing mirror,” Yun Ruoyan murmured. Trees, lush and jade-green, seemed to reach toward the heavens. The air was bright and blue, the clouds white and wispy, as if she had found herself in a wonderland.
“The spiritual energy here is far denser than on the Chenyuan continent as well,” Li Mo commented.
Zhuo Yifeng and Yun Ruoyan both began to meditate reflexively; indeed, the spiritual energy density seemed to be over twice that on the Chenyuan continent.
“Let’s find somewhere to land first,” Zhuo Yifeng began, then took the lead as he flew toward the canopy of trees. Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan followed closely behind him.
After about fifteen minutes of flight, Yun Ruoyan finally saw the gleaming reflection of waves in sunlight.
“There’s a big lake over there, so let’s fly over,” Li Mo suggested. As they did so, however, the clear blue skies suddenly darkened, and the wind rose up as a howling gale. It swept up countless leaves in its flight, which rushed toward the trio as though they were throwing knives…