Jing Yue had little memory of how he returned to Whitefog Summit that day.
He only remembered that people stared at him with meaningful eyes full of relief and excitement along the way and congratulated him.
Jing Yue wanted to explain but didn’t know how. He was even embarrassed to ask what happened.
When he arrived at his residence, he saw the few Laozu of Frostcloud Sect, Sect Leader Wei Tianli, and his disciple Xiaohei all waiting at the entrance, staring at him with the same complicated eyes.
Without waiting for Jing Yue to speak, Liu Yun took the lead and said, “I didn't expect that Zushi and Qin-zhenjun to be on such good terms. When Sect Leader Fu Chen and Qin-zhenjun came up the mountain and explained their purpose that day, all of us got a shock. By the way, the gifts they sent were all on Bluecloud Summit, with three Sumeru Rings stuffed to the brim.”
It was too late for Jing Yue to feel uncomfortable. He asked in surprise, “Is Qin Yanzhi in Frostcloud Sect too?”
Liu Yun, “They settled down in Frore City, saying that before being Dao partners with Zushi, it’s not appropriate for someone of Qin-zhenjun’s status to stay on the mountain for a long time.”
Jing Yue, “What do you mean?”
Liu Feng laughed and said, “Zushi, don’t you know that before ordinary people get married, it's inconvenient for the unmarried husband and wife… husband and husband to see each other too often, let alone stay in the other party’s home.”
Jing Yue, “…”
Liu Feng, “When it comes to Zushi, it never rains but pours. You even conquered Qin-zhenjun.”
Yi Ye huffed in dissatisfaction. “With Qin Yanzhi's aptitude, he's barely worthy. I wonder how many lifetimes of blessings he has accumulated.”
Xiaohei scratched his head. “I think Qin-zhenjun is pretty good.”
At this time, Xiaohei already knew that Jing Yue was Jing Yuan, but he didn't know that he was the reincarnation of Yi Nian.
Jing Yue was silent. Shouldn’t his opinion be sought first?
Wei Tianli looked serious, stepped forward, and said, “This is a serious matter. We need to ask Zushi's opinion.”
Jing Yue was relieved. There were still some rational people in Frostcloud Sect.
Wei Tianli, “Zushi, may I ask who’s marrying whom? If Zhenjun is to come to Frostcloud Sect, I’m afraid Sword Inscription Sect may not agree.”
Jing Yue, “…”
Yi Ye, “Hmph! Who cares if they disagree? There’s no way Shizun is marrying off there!”
Everyone was in agreement.
Jing Yue took a deep breath, waved his sleeves, and the stone door of his cave opened in response. He walked into the cave alone and locked a group of unworthy disciples outside.
Feeling dizzy, Jing Yue rubbed the center of his brows. The blue phoenix had hit the nail right on the head. By now, everyone in the cultivation world would have known about it, but the content was different from what the blue phoenix said. While Jing Yue was caught off guard, Qin Yanzhi made the news of the couple's marriage known to the world?
Inexplicably, he thought of the ‘future’ he saw in the Three Realm Temple back then and couldn't help but feel a chill.
In the silence of the room, the blue phoenix leaned softly on Jing Yue and said softly, “Jing-jing.”
The blue phoenix, “Jing-jing, don't worry. Ji-ji is with you.”
Jing Yue stroked the soft fur of the blue phoenix when the other party said, “Hmph! Hooligan is really full of scheming. Does he really think that Jing-jing will agree if he acts first and thinks later?”
Jing Yue thought that he might agree, but the timing wasn’t right now, and being so passive made him feel suffocated.
The blue phoenix, “Jing-jing, you mustn’t promise Hooligan to go to Sword Inscription Sect. The sparrow on the mountain behind Whitefog Summit has started to like Ji-ji a little. Ji-ji hasn’t conquered it and cannot leave yet.”
Then, the blue phoenix was also thrown out by Jing Yue.
The moment the door was closed, Jing Yue heard Yi Ye's heartbroken voice, “My dear Ji, why are you so skinny? Even your hat is so big now.”
Jing Yue, “…”
At night, an inn in Frore City.
Qin Yanzhi was sitting cross-legged. Suddenly, he opened his clear eyes and said to the empty room, “You’re here.”
The air distorted slightly and Jing Yue's figure slowly emerged. Qin Yanzhi, whom he hadn't seen for several months, entered his eyes. At this time, the other party was looking at him with a smile, and the corners of his eyes and brows were full of joy.
The words Jing Yue wanted to say suddenly got stuck in his throat. Qin Yanzhi gestured for him to be quiet, stepped forward to pull him, and took him away from the inn in a flash to a certain mountain outside Frore City.
The mountain was windy and cold and formed a thin layer of ice on the ground, which crackled under their feet. In the dim moonlight, only the shadows of the mountains and trees could be seen, and Jing Yue had no idea why Qin Yanzhi brought him here.
Qin Yanzhi guessed his doubts and explained, “Although the sect leader looks very serious, he’s very concerned about my affairs. I don’t want him to overhear us.”
After thinking about it, Jing Yue realized that Qin Yanzhi was implying that Sect Leader Fu Chen would eavesdrop on them? He really couldn't connect this behavior with the other party.
He coughed dryly. “Have you absorbed the holy Yao fruit?”
Qin Yanzhi, “I rushed to Frostcloud Sect before absorbing it completely, but the curse has been lifted.”
Jing Yue, “Where’s Taiqing?”
Qin Yanzhi, “Still recovering slowly in my dantian, but he's already conscious.”
Jing Yue, “That’s good to hear.”
There was a moment of silence between the two. Jing Yue was thinking about how to broach the subject when Qin Yanzhi said, “Do you want to see me about the Dao partner ceremony?”
Jing Yue was surprised that Qin Yanzhi took it for granted, and couldn't help but said angrily, “Why didn’t you ask me before telling everyone else about it?”
Qin Yanzhi, “Didn’t I ask? When I returned from Haotian Realm to the World of Seven Continents, I said that I wanted to become Dao partners with you. Later in the Fox Palace, you said you had to think about it, so I waited for you. A few days ago, I asked you what you thought, and you said almost. Don’t you want to become Dao partners with me?”
Jing Yue, “…” Why did he think there was nothing wrong with Qin Yanzhi’s explanation?
Seeing that he was silent, Qin Yanzhi suddenly lowered his voice, “Maybe you don’t want to. I’ve misunderstood.”
Jing Yue felt a pang. He felt that he couldn’t let Qin Yanzhi have his way any longer, so he said, “When I said that at the time, I really like you.”
After saying that, Jing Yue's face was slightly heated, waiting for Qin Yanzhi's reaction, but the other party only hummed calmly.
“What does that mean?” He was too calm, wasn’t he? Jing Yue looked up, only to see that Qin Yanzhi's brows and eyes were filled with bright smiles, diminishing all his sternness, gentler than the moonlight.
Qin Yanzhi, “It means that I’m very happy.”
Jing Yue smiled inexplicably too. “…Mm.”
Suddenly, a pair of warm hands covered Jing Yue's eyes, and Qin Yanzhi said, “Don't look at me like that.”
Jing Yue's long eyelashes fluttered, not knowing what Qin Yanzhi meant. The next moment, he felt a heat between his lips, but the other party left quickly after a peck, let go of the hand covering his eyes, and hugged him tightly.
Qin Yanzhi's warm breath swept over Jing Yue's ear. “When I was still in Haotian Realm, I wanted to hold you like this.”
Jing Yue froze for a moment before he slowly reached out and hugged him back.
The tip of his nose was filled with the familiar cold fragrance of Qin Yanzhi, reminding him of many years ago when he woke up injured and lay in the other party's arms during the assessment at Nine Heavens Academy.
Perhaps many things had been decided right from the beginning.
The two hugged quietly for a while, and then Qin Yanzhi suddenly said, “Since you and I share the same thought, what makes you uneasy about being Dao partners?”
Jing Yue was taken aback for a moment, only to realize that he still had something to say. He got distracted by Qin Yanzhi again.
“Is it because of the demon spawn?”
Qin Yanzhi loosened his hold and looked him in the eye.
“Yes.” Jing Yue said solemnly, “Because of your injury earlier, I didn't have time to think about it. But I thought about it on the way back this time, and I want to go to the Middle Ages secret realm again.”
Qin Yanzhi, “The Middle Ages secret realm? The place you and the Dragon Ancestor visited back then?”
Jing Yue decided to skip this part and said instead, “The Middle Ages secret realm records many pre-historic events, which was when the demon race was the most active. The demon spawn is considered a part of the demon race, the divine demon among them. By right, he needed to rely on innate pure energy to survive, but now that he was born of Heavenly Dao, that’s not important anymore. If the human race only relies on combat strength, we probably won't be a match for the demon spawn. Perhaps we can find a way to deal with it in the secret realm.”
Qin Yanzhi, “But I heard that the Middle Ages secret realm disappeared later. How will you find it?”
Jing Yue, “We failed to enter the core of the secret realm back then, so I wanted to explore it when I get stronger. When I left, I used a magic weapon to leave a trace of consciousness in the secret realm. Now I can sense that the secret realm is to the east.”
Qin Yanzhi, “East? East Yu?”
Jing Yue, “Probably nearby. To enter the Middle Ages secret realm, the cultivation base must be Heavenly Grotto and above, so I have to go into closed-door seclusion. Besides, the more righteous cultivators who can enter the secret realm, the better for us. I’m going to let Frostcloud Sect spread the news to all major sects and look for clues to the secret realm together.”
In preparation for this, their Dao partner ceremony must be postponed.
Seeing that Qin Yanzhi was hesitant to speak, Jing Yue added, “Yanzhi, whether we can find the Middle Ages secret realm or not, we’ll become Dao partners when we return.”
He had been searching the Great Path alone for many years. With someone to accompany him now, it was also a blessing.
Qin Yanzhi, “It’s a promise.”
Jing Yue, “I won’t break it.”
The next day, Qin Yanzhi and Sect Leader Fu Chen left Frore City and returned to Sword Inscription Sect.
In this regard, everyone in Frostcloud Sect expressed their puzzlement. Various speculations sprouted and rumors flew everywhere for a while.
They wanted to question Jing Yue at first, but the latter only spoke about the secret realm before going into closed-door seclusion, leaving no one the chance to gossip.
Another century passed, but to those in the cultivation world, it was just a snap of the fingers.
By the time he came out, Jing Yue had successfully entered Heavenly Grotto and reached the middle stage.
He sent a message to Qin Yanzhi as soon as he came out before he went to his spiritual garden.
At this time, the Golden Chestnut Flower had matured, and the Blessing Grass he planted also had a good harvest.
It took Jing Yue a month to refine a Perennial Pill, and he summoned Yi Ye.
He gave the elixir to Yi Ye and said, “You entered my sect more than 10,000 years ago. Now that I’m reborn, I hope you can also transcend this body and ascend your Dao.”
Yi Ye accepted the elixir with tears in his eyes. “This disciple will do my best to live up to Shizun's teachings.”
At the same time, Qin Yanzhi arrived in Frore City.
<Rouge’s Coming Out>
When Rouge returned to Sword Inscription Sect, gongs, drums, and firecrackers greeted him.
Tao Xian & Fu Chen looked relieved: Rouge is finally back. Have you found a solution to the curse?
Rouge nodded slightly.
Tao Xian & Fu Chen are overjoyed: Oh my, we have to prepare a generous gift for Jing-laozu.
Rouge: Yes, we need to prepare more.
Tao & Fu: Of course.
Rouge: I’m going to become Dao partners with Jing-jing, so the dowry must be of the highest standard. All my private assets will be handed over to the sect, and I’ll prepare some special items on my own. I have to trouble Laozu and Sect Leader.
Tao & Fu: ???!!! Which Jing are you talking about?
Rouge: The best one, so I have to hurry up and stake my claim.