Whenever Song Ci smiled, he looked totally harmless. His beautiful eyes arched and twinkled as if there were fragments of stars scattered among them.
He said to Rong Bai, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tu Shan Rong Bai.”
This was the first time Song Ci called Rong Bai by his name right to his face. Even though the other three showed no visible reactions, he had already set off a tempestuous storm in the latter’s heart.
His voice was light and clear as it wafted into the others’ ears.
Yan Bei raised his head doubtfully and said to Yan Song, “He seems to know Uncle Rong Bai.”
Yan Song stroked his head and squinted his eyes to size Song Ci up. It was not strange for him to know Rong Bai; the strange thing was how this fox demon could ward off Rong Bai’s Du’e.
The golden eyes of the uncle-and-nephew team of the Yan Clan could clearly see Song Ci’s snow-white fox ears and the two tails behind him. Yet they could not distinguish a demonic aura on him. Because of this odd phenomenon, Rong Bai and Yan Song simultaneously stopped their actions to observe him.
Instead, it was Ze Chen who was too lazy to give it much thought. She smiled, and excitement and thrill washed over her red eyes. With a swing of her hand, she conjured out a long, red whip. Two crystal clear phoenix tails floated at the hilt of the whip.
She stepped on the horse’s back, sprang into action, and said to Song Ci, “I like you.”
It was the first time Song Ci had received such a blunt confession. It stumped him momentarily. Then he saw the searing hot whip slashing towards him. He subconsciously rolled aside and extracted a small dagger once he was steady on his feet.
On seeing that, Yan Bei tugged at Yan Song’s sleeve. “Uncle! That’s my…”
But before he could finish his words, Ze Chen flung out the whip to coil around the dagger in Song Ci’s hands and hurled it to a tree at the side. The dagger instantly broke into pieces.
Yan Bei cried out in exclamation. His eyes instantly reddened as if he was about to cry the very next moment. Yan Song rubbed his face and fiercely raised his voice. “Ze Chen! You broke Little Bei’s blade!”
Ze Chen was dumbfounded for a moment before she turned her head to look at the shattered blade under the tree. She scratched her head in embarrassment. “About that… I wasn’t paying attention.”
Yan Bei finally could not hold it in and burst out wailing, sending Yan Song and Ze Chen into a fluster. They coaxed him repeatedly. “Don’t cry, Little Bei. Uncle will give you a blade more powerful…”
With Yan Bei diverting Ze Chen’s attention, Song Ci managed to catch his breath. He looked back at Yan Bei, who had cried until his face went red, and praised him silently in his heart. Cousin, well done!
It was not the best time to approach Rong Bai at present. All three of them saw him as a foe, and the one named Ze Chen was probably half a madwoman. She was a tough nut.
“Let’s slip away first.” As if reading his thoughts, Feng Zhuojun suggested, “This kind of situation will only put you at a disadvantage. Let’s think of other ways. It’s more important to remain alive.”
“Your words make sense.” Song Ci muttered. Like an agile fox, Song Ci soundlessly made his way to a side and swiftly made his escape.
Ze Chen and Yan Song were busy trying to pacify Yan Bai, so they did not notice Song Ci’s carefully fleeing figure. But Rong Bai had his eyes fixed on Song Ci. He saw the entire process, from the moment Song Ci mumbled to himself to the time he made his getaway.
Song Ci was dead beat after running for several li1 in a single breath. He came to a stop and propped himself against a tree. “They shouldn’t be after us now. Let me take a break for a moment.”
“What are you going to do now? You need to have a plan. How long is it going to take for you to make progress if you keep running around like a headless chicken?” Feng Zhuojun was still in the mirror, chatting idly with Song Ci. “Those three aren’t the only ones on this mountain who are dangerous.”
Song Ci slumped down onto the ground, seeing stars as he panted, “I have a plan. I have a plan, but let me have a rest first…”
He stretched out his limbs and gasped for breath like a fish out of water. The pain in his lungs subsided a little, but before he could recover completely, he felt something touch his foot.
As soon as he opened his eyes, he saw Rong Bai, all dressed in gold, standing before him. He had appeared soundlessly. Although there was no murderous intent in his indifferent, lowered eyes, it still made Song Ci shudder.
Song Ci swiftly retracted his limbs, intending to curl up into a ball to roll a distance away. He did not expect Rong Bai to bend over and grab ahold of his collar and picked him up as if he was lifting a chick.
Song Ci’s toes were barely touching the ground. He reflexively raised his hands to press against Rong Bai’s chest and forced out a smile. “Let’s talk it over if you have something to say. Using your fists would only hurt the relationship.”
Rong Bai did not answer but merely raised his other hand. Under the blue light, a spinning Du’e materialized and transformed into a sharp dagger with its tip glinting coldly.
Song Ci gulped down a mouthful of saliva. “Don’t…”
He had only uttered a word when Rong Bai mercilessly stabbed down on Song Ci’s slender, white neck with the dagger. A squawk escaped from Song Ci’s throat as he shut his eyes tightly to avoid it.
Rong Bai moved so swiftly that Song Ci had no time to shift Du’e away.
However, the instant the tip of the blade came into contact with Song Ci’s skin, it turned into a piece of soft silk that encircled his neck before slipping down his arm. It coiled around his arm like a snake and made its way up to nudge against the side of Song Ci’s face.
Like a pet that had seen its master.
A glint of light flashed through Rong Bai’s azure eyes upon seeing this. He slowly put Song Ci down.
It was only after his feet were firmly planted onto the ground that Song Ci uncertainly opened his eyes. Before him, Rong Bai’s gaze was so deep that Song Ci could not get a peek of the emotion within. The first sentence out of Rong Bai’s mouth was, “What’s your name?”
Song Ci looked down at Du’e, who was still nudging against his arm like a pampered child. He replied simply, “Song Ci.”
Rong Bai curled up a corner of his lips, looking rather enchanting. “A pleasure to meet you, Song Ci.”
That was an expression Song Ci had never seen before on Rong Bai’s face. He could not guess what Rong Bai meant by it, but he could sense that Rong Bai’s hostility towards him had diminished a lot.
Song Ci was delighted. That’s a good thing!
Rong Bai’s change of attitude towards him was the first step in the establishment of their friendship. He solemnly tidied his clothes and revealed a friendly smile. Just as he was about to speak to Rong Bai, Rong Bai suddenly turned around and left.
With a casual wave of his hand, Du’e, which was still clinging onto Song Ci’s arms, reluctantly nudged Song Ci’s face and then slid away from his wrist. The instant the soft black silk completely broke away from Song Ci’s arm, it vanished into thin air.
When Song Ci saw Rong Bai leaving, he turned his head to look around. Realizing that the nephew-doting Divine Emperor and that half a madwoman had yet to catch up with them, he trotted over to Rong Bai’s side. Then, he fell behind by a step and initiated a conversation. “Where are you going?”
As soon as he said that, Song Ci recalled how he had dragged along Wen Changchu to chase after Rong Bai to ask that very same question in the City of Pingyang a month ago.
History was always so alike.
“To hunt demons.” Rong Bai paused in his tracks and turned sideways to look at him with a contemplative smile on his face. He took a sudden step towards Song Ci and asked in a low, dangerous voice. “You are pretty gutsy. You are clearly a prey, and you still dare to follow me?”
Song Ci tilted his head back and retreated half a step. The unique scent on Rong Bai’s body wafted towards him. That pleasant-smelling scent carried along with it the masculinity of a powerful, alpha male. Those blue eyes seemed to suck in all of Song Ci’s attention. Even though he felt a sense of oppressiveness, he still did not avert his eyes. His mind was in a muddle. For a moment, he was at a loss for words, “I…”
Rong Bai did not force an answer out of him, as if he was not at all interested in the reason Song Ci was following him. Instead of pressing on ahead, he raised his eyebrows. A wicked smile surfaced on his face. “You have to be careful. It’s very dangerous.”
With that, he continued to head forward, and the scent that had held an influence over Song Ci dispersed along with him. Song Ci rubbed his reddened ears and quickened his pace to follow him. Secretly, he asked Feng Zhuojun, “What did he mean by ‘very dangerous’ earlier?”
“As I said before, the Divine Hunt Meet is organized on a pretty big scale. There are no absolute rules during the era when the various deities were fighting for supremacy. The strongest will be crowned the victor. But the higher up one is, the more those at the bottom would set their eyes on. This is the case with the Tu Shan Divine Clan among the various deities, and Rong Bai of the Tu Shan Clan is the target of many. So it isn’t safe to be around him.” Feng Zhuojun answered.
“Rong Bai is so formidable. Is there even anyone in the younger generation that is a threat to him?” Song Ci was puzzled.
“It’s nothing to him, but it’s dangerous for you.” Feng Zhuojun said silently, “Don’t tell me you still don’t have a clear measure of your own abilities?”
“Fine, fine, fine. You can shut up now.” Song Ci was very much aware of his own capability. Now that Feng Zhuojun had mentioned it, he could not help but feel a little apprehensive.
Rong Bai abandoned his horse and walked on foot through the forest. Song Ci followed him. Although he hesitated, he did not have the slightest intention to move in a different direction.
Both of them had no further exchanges, but strangely enough, Song Ci did not feel the slightest bit awkward because of this silence.
Along the way, Rong Bai turned a blind eye to the minor demons around him that scurried to conceal themselves. It was as if those lowly weaklings were not worthy enough for him to strike out at them. His pace was unhurried. The mosaics of sunlight sprinkled over his golden clothes glittered.
Song Ci could not help but lament. He’s still different after all.
The previous Rong Bai was like an immortal who had descended from Heaven. Those black hair, black eyes, and lazy smile were all so breathtaking that one could not help but gasp in admiration. But this Rong Bai before him gave him a sense of distance merely by standing there. With a raise of his eyebrows, and a curl of his lips, his expressions were all much more vivid than before, but that aloof, dignified bearing was really hard to overlook.
Song Ci’s mind wandered as he walked. Just as he was relaxing, he heard Feng Zhuojun yelling, “Watch out!”
Immediately right after, a heat howled past his ear. Song Ci turned his head aside, and several strands of hair that had been burned off fluttered away. He subconsciously raised his hand to grab hold of that offensive object.
The moment it entered his hand, a surge of searing heat bore its way into his tender palm. He flung away the object. It only took a microsecond from the moment he grabbed hold of it to the moment he cast it away, but it was still so scalding that a dense cluster of blisters emerged on his palm, rendering his hand red and swollen. It looked frightening.
Song Ci looked down at his palm, then at the arrow that had fallen to the ground. He looked up in a rage and saw several men dressed in the same attire standing in the direction where the arrow had come from.
There were young and old in the group, and they all wore vermillion clothes with a snow-white waistbelt on their waists. They had black eyes and fair faces, and there was a grin on their faces as they looked mockingly at Song Ci and Rong Bai.
“It’s the Zhu Clan of the Vermilion Bird Divine Clan.” Feng Zhuojun said.
The Old Divine Realm and New Divine Realm had always been at odds with each other, especially in the early days of the peaceful era. There was too much friction and conflict between the two Realms, and the Zhu Clan was so arrogant that they would try every means and ways to cause trouble with the deities of the New Divine Realm.
The man at the lead was rather young. He seemed to be about twenty-one or twenty-two of age. He raised those attractive eyebrows of his and said, “Yo, are you alone, little Clan Head of Tu Shan?”
“That’s Zhu Qin, the youngest son of Zhu Clan’s Clan Head. He is quite powerful and is one of the more well-known figures in the Divine Clan among the younger generation. Many of those from the New Divine Realm have been injured by his hands.” Feng Zhuojun said his introduction quickly.
Song Ci’s face was wooden as he looked at Zhu Qin in silence.
“He’s fond of causing trouble for Rong Bai.” Feng Zhuojun added.
A crack appeared on Song Ci’s expressionless face upon hearing this. He furrowed his eyebrows.
“Did all of you team up again to ask for a beating?” Rong Bai threw a contemptuous look at them, totally not giving any damn about Zhu Qin’s provocation.
“Bah!” Zhu Qin looked as if Rong Bai had stabbed him in his sore spot. He said viciously, “Last time, it was all because of the interference of Zhu Yishu and that stupid younger brother of his. This time, you are all alone. Let’s see how arrogant you can get!”
Song Ci’s mouth twitched and clenched his fist, rupturing all those blisters on his palm. The penetrating pain contorted his expression, making him look even more vicious than Zhu Qin. He said coldly, “Are you blind? Can’t you see there is someone else standing right here?”