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Sure enough, only five tails!
Meng Qi withdrew her hand; although she had already guessed it, she was still a little surprised. The man was not a Void Comprehending cultivator. Instead, he used medicine to abruptly raise his cultivation base to the Void Comprehending stage. But such a method naturally had its price and danger. A small mishap, and he would easily fall into a Qi deviation, forever depriving himself of a chance to truly advance into the Void Comprehending stage.
He was already at the peak of the Spirit Severing stage, so why the hurry?
Meng Qi didn’t quite understand.
“What’s wrong?” Seeing Meng Qi’s frowning, Xue Jinwen asked in a low voice, “Is there anything wrong?”
Meng Qi withdrew her gaze and shook her head. She took a deep look at the man, then took out two Jiuhuiyang Pills and handed them to him: “To repair your spiritual sea, we must leave this place first.”
“You…you can repair my spiritual sea?” The man looked at her in surprise, “Do you have a Starlight?”
“My acquaintance has it, but I’m not sure if he will be willing to use it for you.” As Meng Qi spoke, she glanced at Lu Qingran again.
The man nodded, took the pills silently, and stuffed them into his mouth, “Shall we depart now?”
“Ju—…Fellow Daoist Meng he’s injured so badly. Please let him rest a bit longer,” Lu Qingran suddenly pleaded.
“…” Meng Qi was baffled. The man’s condition was severe, but since the blood congestion had gone, he should be capable of walking normally.
This forest was too strange and eerie; it was too dangerous to stay here longer.
“Can you walk?” Meng Qi ignored Lu Qingran and asked the man.
“Yes.” The man reached out and pressed his chest, propped himself up with his left hand, and slowly stood up. He was very tall. Pei Mufeng was considered tall among male cultivators, but the man was almost as tall as him. His chiseled features gave him an air of handsomeness. Despite the dirt stains on his crimson robe and the weariness on his haggard face, he exuded an undeniable sense of strength and valor.
Lu Qingran rushed over and instinctively reached out to lend him support, “Be careful.”
“Thank you.” The man nodded slightly and pulled his arm out of her hand.
Meng Qi glanced at the two, then turned to Pei Mufeng and Xue Jinwen, “I can only take two people out at a time, so we have to make two journeys.”
“Why?” Before they could say anything, Lu Qingran rushed to ask.
“This forest is strange; it has the ability to absorb all things, even the aura of cultivators,” Meng Qi explained. “I have a method for getting through it, but the two individuals must come with me.”
“What method?” Lu Qingran asked again.
Meng Qi paused, hesitating. She naturally trusted Xue Jinwen and Pei Mufeng, but couldn’t say the same about Lu Qingran and this unfamiliar man. “Anyway, since I can come in, I can take you away.” She thought for a moment, then added, “Save the talk until we’re out.”
As she spoke, Meng Qi looked around the area. The small clearing was located roughly in the center of the forest. It was still daytime, and the sunlight filtered through the leaves of the towering trees, casting shadows on the ground. The clearing was entirely still, without so much as a whisper of the wind or a peep from any insects or birds. Not even a single blade of grass grew in the barren dirt.
Everything about this forest was strange and unnatural.
“Now…” Meng Qi glanced over Lu Qingran and the strange man, hesitated for a moment, “I’ll take Sister Xue and Fellow Daoist Lu Qingran first.”
“Okay.” Xue Jinwen nodded.
“Ah?” Lu Qingran was taken aback. “Then what about him?” She tilted her head slightly, looking at the man. “But his injuries haven’t healed yet, so he can’t stay here… Junior Sister Meng! No, Fellow Daoist Meng, you should take him out first. I can stay here for now.” Lu Qingran smiled at Meng Qi. “I’ll be fine, really.”
Meng Qi: “…”
“It’s okay.” The injured man in the crimson robe was exactly Sikong Zhan. He pressed his hand against his chest and barely stood upright. The pain, which previously seemed to squeeze his soul out of his body, had eased a lot. But aura still leaked out from the cracks in his damaged spiritual sea, making him feel weak all over and even a bit struggling to remain standing.
Sikong Zhan scanned the faces of the three individuals. Having never left the demon realm, he was completely unfamiliar with these people. Here it should be… Starfallen Sea, yes? Sikong Zhan had not expected that he would be thrown into the Starfallen Sea by that person, nor did he expect to meet strangers who rescued him without hesitation.
“I will stay here.” Sikong Zhan took a deep breath, cupped his hands to Meng Qi, and bowed deeply, “I thank Fellow Daoist for saving my life.”
Meng Qi waved her hand: “You paid for it.”
“…” Sikong Zhan didn’t know how to respond for a moment. There was nothing wrong with her remark, but he felt an indescribable sense of distance. After a moment of stunned silence, he gathered himself and continued, “My name is Sikong Zhan. Should you ever require any assistance in the Demon Realm, I would be honored to help in any way I can.”
Sikong Zhan suddenly didn’t know what to say next. If this female cultivator was really an acquaintance with that person, then she would never need his help. Besides… The memory of the white-robed man’s attitude towards him when he was cast into the Starfallen Sea caused Sikong Zhan’s hand to clench at his side. Perhaps, the Demon Realm was truly on the brink of tremendous change.
Sikong Zhan? Meng Qi turned to face him. “Are you also from the red fox clan? No need to be so formal.” She nodded in acknowledgment before glancing slightly at Lu Qingran. “It’s only right to use money to treat an illness.” She paused for a moment, “Do you happen to know Sikong Yan?”
“Sikong Yan?” Sikong Zhan frowned. An undisguised disgust flashed across his face, “Although we are of the same clan, we are not close.”
“Hmm…” Meng Qi looked at him thoughtfully. The members of the red fox clan she knew by name were Sikong Yan and her best friend, Sikong Xing. While her first encounter with the red fox demons was more than unpleasant, she had no particular ill feelings about them.
“Then… what about Sikong Xing?” Meng Qi asked again.
As soon as they exited the forest, this Sikong Zhan would meet Sikong Xing. Meng Qi recalled Su Junmo mentioning that Sikong Xing’s status within the red fox clan was somewhat precarious; her father had been shunned by other clan members and had ultimately sent her to study under the black tortoise master to avoid the power struggle within the clan. Sikong Xing herself had also mentioned that her bold personality and tendency to rescue young female demon cultivators had earned her the enmity of many of the clan’s influential youth. Meng Qi couldn’t help but wonder if Sikong Zhan was one of the bullies Sikong Xing had referred to.
“Si…Sikong Xing?” Sikong Zhan’s pale face suddenly flushed red. He was originally a handsome young man, but his pale and haggard look after the injury had greatly diminished his handsomeness. Now, after color returned to his face, he suddenly looked much better. “D-do you know Sikong Xing?” he asked, his words slightly stuttering. His eyes, which had been dull, suddenly brightened, “I heard she arrived in the Three Thousand Worlds. Have you met her, Fellow Daoist? How was she? And where did you meet her?”
“I know her.” Meng Qi gave a short nod.
Xue Jinwen suddenly interjected with a smile. Her gaze inadvertently swept over Lu Qingran as she told Meng Qi, “We can talk about these things later. Let’s leave here first.”
“Okay.” Meng Qi reached out and held Xue Jinwen’s hand, then reached out to Lu Qingran, “Fellow Daoist Lu, let’s go.”
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