Ancient Strengthening Technique - AST 2444 A Choice between Life and Death[Updated at: 2021-01-11 10:11:00]
AST 2444 – A Choice between Life and Death
“Alright, you guys can head back first. I’m going to walk around,” said Qing Shui to Nuo Lan and Ling Chen.
Ling Chen and Nuo Lan had confirmed their relationship and were going to get married soon. This was a piece of great news and Qing Shui was happy for them. He was pleased with the home which Nuo Lan would be marrying into.
“Qing Shui, are you going to look for her?” Nuo Lan asked worriedly.
“Alright, don’t worry. I know what to do.” Qing Shui waved his hand dismissively and left.
Nine Continents Demon Gate!
It was the Nine Stars Emperor City’s Nine Continents Demon Gate. Upon arriving, Qing Shui just watched from afar at first. This place was built along the Nine Stars Mountain, but it was the same as the Divine Palace. The Nine Stars Mountain wasn’t tall but the area atop its peak was enormous. It was flattened by someone and became a mountain city.
It wasn’t far-fetched to call it a city. There were three major roads atop the peak, lined with pavilions and manors. The roads were straight along the mountain range which led outside.
Palaces stood in great numbers there, along the bend of the Nine Stars Mountain. The area was big. That was the Nine Stars Emperor City’s Demon Gate Headquarters.
Qing Shui stood here for about two hours. Just as Qing Shui was in the dilemma of looking for Tantai Lingyan, a beautiful figure stepped out of the Nine Continents Demon Gate and walked toward Qing Shui.
She traversed in mid-air toward him in a light snow-white apparel. Her beauty transcended this world, exuding a cold aura. While it wasn’t as ice cold as before, it gave others a sense of dejection.
She had indeed reached a breakthrough. Qing Shui knew it the moment she felt Tantai Lingyan’s aura and could tell that he wasn’t her match.
With an air of superiority, her eyes were like the boundless stars above; the beauty behind the coldness was stifling.
Qing Shui thought she looked familiar but felt like a stranger now. This left him ill at ease, just like how one would feel when partners had fallen out of love in his previous life. It felt like they would become strangers after this, making Qing Shui feel uneasy.
“Qing Shui?” Tantai Lingyan called out to him gently as though she didn’t really know him.
Qing Shui let out a bitter laugh then sighed. “I feel like I’ve gone back to the time when I was courting you. Always feeling like there’s a distance between us when I catch up to you.”
Tantai Lingyan didn’t smile and merely set her gaze on Qing Shui. She had broken through but found that there was still a shadow in her heart. She yearned for familiarity, and it felt like so. This was something she had not felt before. Now that she had seen Qing Shui, she realized that the shadow was him, and it was why she called out his name hesitantly.
“Did you look for me because of the matter with the Divine Palace?” Tantai Lingyan asked.
Before Qing Shui could answer, Tantai Lingyan continued, “If that’s the case, then let’s forget about it. The Divine Palace and the Demon Gate were enemies from the start. Who knows how many Demon Kings a Battle God like you has killed, or Demon Gates you have destroyed. So, let’s not think that I’m cruel.”
Qing Shui was stunned but thought it through. Since they were enemies, and he did destroy quite a few Demon Kings and Demon Gates, he didn’t think he had the right to blame her.
After processing the thought, Qing Shui pondered over his purpose there. They had once been lovey-dovey and were close. They could’ve have been married after some time; yet, things slowly turned out this way. With time, even Qing Shui became a stranger toward it.
Tantai Lingyan saw the lack of response in Qing Shui as they stared quietly at each other. Qing Shui’s gaze was clear. Watching the face which had captured his soul, he was suddenly filled with love, heartache, adoration, regret, and resignation…
Qing Shui’s complex gaze caused Tantai Lingyan’s heart to race. The shadow in her heart became clearer, suddenly feeling as though she was really close to the man in front of her. In all honesty, she was very lonely; she had no friends, much less a lover, one who was just like her kin.
“Lingyan, can I hug you?” Qing Shui asked sincerely. He was afraid that Tantai Lingyan would slice him again.
Tantai Lingyan watched Qing Shui wordlessly. She was used to her lonely days and didn’t feel much about the relationships between men and women. She didn’t find anyone she fancied and neither did she feel anything in this regard. It was true now too, but her interactions with Qing Shui made her feel that this man was different from the others.
He was indeed different. Because subconsciously, she knew that he was regarded as her man. Whether she remembered it or not, she knew this to be true, especially now. On one hand, there was the shadow in her heart; on another, there was Qing Shui’s gaze.
He did not retaliate when she had attacked him previously, and he had nearly died under her blade. This incident had a great impact on her.
Suddenly, she realized that she was in a light embrace. Instinctively, she wanted to attack and had many methods in her mind to kill the man, but she didn’t move.
The light scent of the man engulfed her. It felt natural and the scent was a little familiar to her. It was comforting and it shocked her. How was it possible for her to quietly lie in a man’s arms? Without realizing it, she curled her arms around his waist.
Qing Shui was relieved, but he didn’t do anything. Just like that, he quietly hugged her shoulders.
“Lingyan, my wife. You don’t know how much I miss you. That impulsive desire to see you, to see your familiar smile was tearing me apart. How I wish to hold you in my arms tightly, to keep you near me.” Qing Shui’s voice was low as though he was holding back something.
“I’m sorry. I know what you say is true, but I…”
“I understand. You don’t have to apologize. Heaven’s pulling a prank on me.” Qing Shui laughed in resignation.
“Didn’t you say you want to hug me tightly? Hug me as tight as you want then,” said Tantai Lingyan gently.
Qing Shui’s heart leaped at it and hugged her tightly, holding her close to his own body as he buried his face into the crook of her neck. Taking deep breaths of her scent, the pair was stuck close to each other. The feeling relieved Qing Shui from some of his heart’s desire.
Tantai Lingyan felt exceptionally peaceful at that moment. The man and her were supposed to be enemies; yet, she didn’t have an ounce of worry that he would attack her when locked in that embrace. Not worried that he’d kill her or the like. Furthermore, she could sense that he didn’t guard himself against her either; it would have been easy to kill him right then.
Qing Shui calmed down only after a long time, releasing his grip on her slightly but couldn’t bear to let her go completely.
“Thank you, Lingyan. It has been a long time. I guess there was still some feeling from last time.” Qing Shui smiled.
“Qing Shui, I’m a little scared now,” Tantai Lingyan replied softly.
“What are you afraid of?” Qing Shui was puzzled.
“I believe the words you’ve said before. If I regain my memories one day, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to face reality. Did I hurt a lot of people?” Tantai Lingyan sighed.
“This is destiny. It’s not your fault,” said Qing Shui helplessly.
“If we have to stand on the opposite ends of life and death one day, and we have to make a choice between us. What would you do?” Tantai Lingyan asked Qing Shui quietly.