Arc 3: Starfallen Sea
The Apricot Forest was engulfed in silence, with only the sound of wind blowing over the leaves. As if they were dancing, the verdant and tall apricot trees made rustling sounds as their branches swayed along with the wind.
“What…happens?” Meng Qi asked dumbfoundedly. She looked around, and her gaze finally fell on Sikong Xing.
Just now, did Xingxing say that they saw her?
What exactly did they see?
Before Sikong Xing had time to explain, one of the elders of the Medical Society Alliance suddenly jumped from the peak and rushed towards Meng Qi. He quickly arrived in front of the two girls and said with a smile: “Young Daoist Meng Qi has returned safely, and everyone surely has many questions.” He paused, looked around, and then said again: “But what she needs most now is a rest.” The elder looked at Meng Qi with a cordial smile: “Young Daoist doesn’t need to worry. Take a rest first, and anything others can be done later.”
“Thank you, elder.” Meng Qi bowed politely.
“Go.” The elder smiled and nodded. “Young Daoist Meng and that Ji Wujiong broke through the Grand Tournament barrier in twelve days just with the two of you. This is something unheard of, even for us old men. There are many questions we want to ask you, however…” The elder’s gaze moved around. There was a warning in his eyes: “When Young Daoist Meng Qi is resting, no one is allowed to disturb her without permission.”
“Thank you, Elder.” Meng Qi bowed once again. In fact, she was not tired at all. But when she looked at the surrounding crowd and felt countless gazes falling on her, she decided to accept the elder’s help and leave this place as soon as possible.
“Meng Qiqi, you really need to take a good rest!” Sikong Xing said. Without giving Meng Qi a chance to argue, she held her arm affectionately and walked towards the entrance. “You were gone for more than ten days. I was worried to death! Fortunately, you return safely.”
While babbling, Sikong Xing walked out of the crowd with Meng Qi. The crowd was composed of medical cultivators who attended the Medical Cultivator Conference. Seeing Sikong Xing and Meng Qi approaching, they spontaneously opened a path so the two could leave unimpeded.
“Fellow Daoist Meng.” A medical cultivator who stood in the forefront, the one who took the first initiative to open the way, bowed towards Meng Qi.
Meng Qi quickly returned the bow, feeling a bit shocked. Many cultivators came to participate in the conference, but almost all were of the Golden Core stage and above. It wasn’t exaggerating to say that people here were the medical elites of Three Thousand Worlds. In the eyes of these people, a small cultivator like Meng Qi, who had just barely formed her golden core, should be a nobody. But when she was walking all the way to the entrance of Apricot Forest, those cultivators all politely bowed to her.
Meng Qi earnestly returned the courtesy one by one. Until she finally walked out of the crowd, she was still a bit stunned.
“Meng Qiqi?” Seeing her stopping, Sikong Xing asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” Meng Qi shook her head and smiled, “It was only twelve days, but it felt like a lifetime ago.”
“You have no idea!” Sikong Xing took Meng Qi by the arm. She was taller between the two, yet she buried her head against Meng Qi’s shoulder and muttered in a low voice: “When you were gone, one day felt like a year! No, even a decade! We waited here very anxiously!”
“Meng Qiqi.” Before Meng Qi could react, Chu Tianfeng’s voice came from behind. The Young Palace Master of Fentian Palace, whom she hadn’t seen for one month, had already strode to her side without waiting for her to turn around: “Let’s go back to the inn first.”
As Chu Tianfeng’s words fell, Qin Xiumo had also stood by Meng Qi’s other side.
Su Junmo followed a few steps behind, walking side by side with the smiling Xue Jinwen. “You aren’t going back to Xue clan?” He asked her.
“No.” Smiling leisurely, Xue Jinwen raised her hand and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear: “When I made a move and attacked the barrier with you guys earlier, I had made up my mind to never go back again.”
Su Junmo stopped asking, and Xue Jinwen didn’t explain more. Her eyes fell on Sikong Xing, who was still busy talking to Meng Qi. The girl’s eyes were full of smiles, and her face shone with happiness. The two girls were actually the polar opposite. Sikong Xing was bright and easygoing. Like her favorite red clothes, her personality was as passionate as fire. In contrast, Meng Qi was slightly cold and calm. Clad in a green robe, she reminded people of pine or young bamboo. Yet, the two could become close friends, probably because they both lived freely and never turned themselves from their beliefs.
The group quickly returned to Ruyi Inn, where Meng Qi and the others previously lived. After Chu Tianfeng and Qin Xiumo arrived, they also rented the courtyard next door. Six young people of different backgrounds gathered in the courtyard where Meng Qi, Sikong Xing, and Su Junmo lived.
Under the big tree in the courtyard, Meng Qi and Sikong Xing sat on a stone bench, with Xue Jinwen sitting opposite them. As for the three men, they all remained standing. Chu Tianfeng and Qin Xiumo seemed to gain a tacit understanding, and they both stood side by side next to the trunk of the big tree. Su Junmo, who stood behind Sikong Xing, seemed to want to say something several times, but always stopped himself in time. He was actually extremely curious about Ji Wujiong. Still, after a second thought, he held back his curiosity for the time being and let Sikong Xing inform Meng Qi about everything that happened during the past twelve days.
Sikong Xing began to tell their side of the story, and finally reached the part when they got the news and rushed to Apricot Forest: “Meng Qiqi, there is a rumor spreading in the four realms, saying that during the medical cultivator decennial trial practice, a Foundation Establishment medical cultivator and a mysterious black-robed young man led a handful of spell and sword cultivators and successfully defeated a cultivator of the second realm of the Spirit Severing stage.”
“You mean Tengshe Sect Leader?” Meng Qi was startled. She didn’t expect it.
“Yes!” Sikong Xing slapped the table, “It’s him.”
“Wait…” Meng Qi was a little confused, “The rumor is spreading in the four realms?”
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