Two figures walked along the little mountain path, one in front and the other behind. Tuntun trotted along between them, swivelling its head to cast a gloating gaze at Zhou Yuan. Evidently, even it could sense that Yaoyao was in a bad mood.
Zhou Yuan rolled his eyes at it, before awkwardly scratching his head as he looked towards the graceful figure in front of him. He clearly had not expected the usually uncaring Yaoyao to become so angry this time.
Yaoyao did not say anything, while Zhou Yuan did not dare to start any conversation. Hence, the two of them returned to the cave dwelling under this stuffy and gloomy atmosphere.
When they were back, Yaoyao indifferently said, “Go clean yourself up.”
Zhou Yuan took a sniff of his sweaty body, and let out an embarrassed laugh, before obediently proceeding to wash up.
Yaoyao sat down in the stone pavilion by the cliff. She then retrieved a jade pot and poured herself a full cup of wine. As she lifted the cup, her clear eyes gazed towards the drifting clouds beyond the cliff edge.
After some time, a cleaned Zhou Yuan walked over and seated himself opposite Yaoyao.
Yaoyao was still ignoring him, continuing instead to stare at the clouds in a daze.
A long while later, she slowly withdrew her gaze, no emotion whatsoever on her face as she looked towards Zhou Yuan and said, “You…”
The moment she began spoking, however, Zhou Yuan cut out and said without the slightest bit of hesitation, “I was in the wrong.”
Yaoyao was taken aback. She frowned a little and said, “Wrong…”
“Big sis Yaoyao is right!” Zhou Yuan immediately interjected again, his attitude incapable of being more upright.
“I’ll never do it again!”
Every time Yaoyao was about to speak, Zhou Yuan immediately displayed a submissive and conceding appearance, as if ready to receive any kind of scolding or punishment.
After being cut off several times, the cup in Yaoyao’s hand slammed into the table with a little more force than usual, creating a clear ‘thump’ sound. She stared icily at Zhou Yuan and said, “Shut up!”
Zhou Yuan immediately sealed his mouth.
By the side, Tuntun revealed a disdainful look at Zhou Yuan. Such spinelessness was practically unwatchable!
Yaoyao glared at Zhou Yuan, the rage originally boiling inside her weakening a little after the many interruptions. Frustrated, she downed the entire cup of wine in her hand.
Zhou Yuan breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the iciness on Yaoyao’s face slightly recede, and hurriedly tried to pour Yaoyao another cup.
However, Yaoyao slapped away his outreached hands. She grabbed the jade pot and poured another drink for herself.
After several cups, her eyes finally lowered slightly as she slowly said, “Zhou Yuan, you are rushing things too much.”
Zhou Yuan could only sigh softly in response as he said, “Big sis Yaoyao, I cannot think of any reason to relax. Like you said before, senior brother Chu Qing and I are different. He is fond of doing things half-heartedly if he could, while I… need to give my hundred and twenty percent at all times.”
“The threat of the Great Wu Empire is still looming over the Great Zhou Empire, and no one knows when the former will make their move, but once it happens, the Great Zhou Empire would definitely have to pay a terrible price.”
“The Great Zhou Empire is currently incapable of facing the Great Wu Empire, while I am the Great Zhou Empire’s only hope.”
Yaoyao gazed at the young man before her. Over the past few years, the originally powerless youth had slowly transformed, while the tremendous burden on his shoulders had only grown heavier.
Even so, he had never showed any signs of carrying this burden in his daily life.
Yaoyao’s hand tightened around her cup as she softly said, “I know that you are the Great Zhou Empire’s only hope, but what will the Great Zhou Empire do if something happens to you?”
She stared hard at the wine in her cup as she softly said, “When that happens, where will I go?”
There was a slight lost feeling in her voice. Her origins were so mysterious that even she herself had no clue of who she was and where she came from. In the past, her only kin had been Cang Yuan.
The same Cang Yuan who had entrusted her to Zhou Yuan. After living together for the past few years, her cold and lonely heart had gradually begun to view Zhou Yuan as family. She could not even fathom what she would do if something were to happen to him.
She had no feelings for the Cangxuan Sect, and had only stayed because Zhou Yuan was here too.
If Zhou Yuan was no longer around, she would naturally have no reason to stay any further.
When that happened, no matter how immense the world was, she would truly have nowhere to go.
She neither knew her parents nor had the means to discover who they were, and even if they did exist, she could not feel anything in her heart towards them...
Zhou Yuan’s heart twisted in pain for a moment when he gazed upon the extremely rare sliver of powerlessness and perplexedness in Yaoyao’s eyes. He reached out and gently grasped her tiny hands, feeling their cold jade-like sensation, as he softly said,
“Big sis Yaoyao, I understand that you are likely involved in something beyond my imagination. After all, even existences on the level of master Cang Yuan and patriarch Cang Xuan are somehow related to you. Compared to them, the current me is as insignificant as an ant.”
“Over the years, you’ve been the one who has shielded me from all the dangers I encountered.”
“But I promised master Cang Yuan I would protect you, and I do not wish to ultimately be incapable of fulfilling even this single promise…”
Zhou Yuan looked towards the perfect, flawless face before him, as he smiled and said, “Big sis Yaoyao, there are two reasons why I’ve been training so desperately… first is to protect the Great Zhou Empire, and second... is so that if you encounter danger one day, I will have the qualifications to help you fight for even that slim chance of survival.”
“Even if the price will be my own life.”
There was an easy and carefree smile on his face, however, the eyes that looked straight at Yaoyao were filled with earnesty.
Yaoyao was slightly stunned as she gazed into Zhou Yuan’s eyes. At this very moment in time, her usually ice-cold eyes that viewed all things with indifference seemed to melt a little.
Hence, she did not swat Zhou Yuan away when he held her hands, but instead gently grasped them back in return as she softly said, “If that day really comes, I hope that you… will try to stay alive.”
Sunlight peeked through the clouds at this moment, its rays gently embracing the two individuals in the stone pavilion, illuminating the ethereal dust that danced around them.
Zhou Yuan’s heart stealthily stirred due to Yaoyao’s words.
He gazed upon her seemingly glowing face as his heart throbbed a little harder. He stood up, looking straight into her eyes, as he could not help but slowly inch his face nearer to hers.
Zhou Yuan’s face was reflected in Yaoyao’s bright eyes as she seemed to stiffen.
The two grew closer and closer, their breaths already gently brushing across the other’s face.
However, a split second before they could touch, the sound of barking suddenly cut through the air. Yaoyao instantly returned to her senses, as rarely seen panic flashed in her eyes. The cup in her hand was splashed at Zhou Yuan’s face in reflex.
Zhou Yuan’s face was frozen on the spot, as wine flowed down towards his chin.
A blush appeared on Yaoyao’s face as she glared at Zhou Yuan, before hurriedly turning around to enter the little house, tightly shutting the door behind her with a loud thud.
Zhou Yuan was left behind, dazed as a statue.
A long while later, he slowly wiped away the wine on his face, before turning around with a stormy expression. He immediately found Tuntun, and growled through gnashed teeth, “Bastard, I’m going to eat you today!”
He ferociously pounced towards Tuntun.
To think that this ingrate, that had eaten countless meals from him, would ruin things!
Such an atmosphere was already near impossible to encounter. Once Yaoyao regained her usual indifference and nonchalance, Zhou Yuan would not dare make such a bold move again even if he grew another ball. And now, such a rare opportunity had been ruined by Tuntun!
Man and beast began an ugly scuffle.
Some time later.
Zhou Yuan was lying on the ground, bloody claw marks covering every inch of his body. Tuntun rolled about in a pleased manner nearby as it released a series of very human-like mocking snorts. It was obvious that Zhou Yuan had ultimately been defeated in this short scuffle.
Zhou Yuan let out a deep grief-filled sigh. To think that he would be incapable of beating even a little brute...
While he was filled with grief and indignation, his eyelids gradually drooped with exhaustion, and he soon fell into a deep slumber.
Tuntun blinked a few times when it saw that Zhou Yuan had directly fallen asleep there on the ground, before it tiptoed towards his head. It lifted a leg, actually planning on pissing on Zhou Yuan’s head.
However, while its leg was being raised, a hand viciously pinched its ear and lifted it into the air.
Tuntun struggled, only to freeze when it saw Yaoyao’s clear as water like eyes, as a begging for forgiveness expression instantly emerged in its eyes.
“Take him back.” Yaoyao glanced towards the figure lying on the ground.
Tuntun was thrown back down. It could only grow in size and pull Zhou Yuan onto its back, before obediently sending him into the little house.
The next day, Zhou Yuan discovered that he was lying on his soft bed when he awakened from his deep sleep. He gazed at the edge on his bed, as abundant vital energy spread in his body, allowing his condition to slowly recover to its peak.
The clear sound of an old bell suddenly rang out across the land.
A dazzling light shined in Zhou Yuan’s eyes, eager battle intent suging in their depths.
The chief disciple selection was finally here.