*Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!* as lightning continues to come down from above the mist of cold Qi gradually dissipates to reveal the figure of Ye Gui Feng beneath the lightning shower.
A somewhat thick layer of ice covers half of Ye Gui Feng’s body but under the rapid strikes of lightning this layer of ice slowly crumbles while ripping off a layer of his skin.
Ye Gui Feng’s appearance at this time can only be described as miserable as most of what remains of his clothes is just the lower portions of his robes.
Standing about within the lightning shower Ye Gui Feng remains completely still without moving.
Narrowing his eyes the Asura Monarch sees that Ye Gui Feng’s eyes are closed almost as if he is asleep.
Regardless of the pain that the lightning shower brings to him Ye Gui Feng shows no signs of waking up. It is almost as if the pain of being electrocuted cannot even reach him.
Under ordinary circumstances the Asura Monarch might assume that Ye Gui Feng had died already however the faint demonic Qi that exudes from his body has only increased in density. This means that he far from being at death’s doorsteps.
As a few moments go by-
*Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!* the sound of lightning going off continuously is something that causes Xiao Ju Hong’s heart to skip a beat as her expression turns anxious.
If possible Xiao Ju Hong would want to rush outside right this instance but-
Sitting at the center of the magic array Xiao Lian has her eyes closed seemingly unconscious. Half of the entire scroll painting is sticking out of her chest as it slowly merges into her soul.
Since the binding of the scroll painting to Xiao Lian’s soul has reached the critical junction it’s impossible for Xiao Ju Hong to leave. Leaving right now would be completely irresponsible of her as a parent and it would be the exact opposite of what Ye Gui Feng would want when he is outside buying them time.
Looking towards Xiao Ju Hong who had an anxious expression on her face Die Fei inwardly sighs.
“You should stop biting your lips.”
The moment Die Fei says this Xiao Ju Hong loosens her mouth as a sense of pain hits her. Had Die Fei not pointed this matter out Xiao Ju Hong would probably never have realized it.
“Trust him to buy us the time that we need.”
Giving Die Fei a kind nod Xiao Ju Hong takes a deep breath of air before focusing on her task at hand of keeping the magic array active.
*Boom! Boom! Boom!* to the best of her abilities Xiao Ju Hong ignores the sound of striking lightning that is in the background.
Should anything go wrong with this part of the process and result in future consequences Xiao Ju Hong would never be able to forgive herself.
Within a world of darkness Xiao Lian opens her eyes and puts on an expression of both confusion and curiosity.
“Is this…? The world inside of the scroll painting?”
Recalling what she had been doing prior to her arrival to this place Xiao Lian comes to this conclusion.
From what Xiao Lian can remember of the finished painting all that she had seen is a wall of black ink. This makes her question how the painting can be considered a world if it lacks so much. Prior to the painting being finished she vaguely recalls seeing something entirely different so she really has no clue as to how it had resulted in what she had seen in the finished product.
Blinking her eyes Xiao Lian turns to the right and it is there that she sees the figure of a person that stood out to her.
The person who had their back facing Xiao Lian is dressed in a dark set of imperial robes that had golden lotus patterns laced to the robes’ hems.
Despite having heard his daughter calling out to him Ye Gui Feng doesn’t turn around as he continues to walk further into the darkness.
Parting her lips slightly Xiao Lian chooses to chase after the figure of her father.
However, Xiao Lian quickly realizes that no matter how much she chases after the back of her father he would always be a few meters ahead of her.
These few meters of distance that separates them from one another seems to be a line that Xiao Lian cannot cross no matter how much effort she puts into chasing after her father’s back.
Eventually Xiao Lian slows down as she gradually comes to a stop.
At the same moment Ye Gui Feng also pauses in his footsteps before turning his head around.
The light in Ye Gui Feng’s eyes is gentle as he looks towards his daughter who is looking back at him with her emerald green eyes.
Inwardly Ye Gui Feng sighs. He doesn’t know if this is real or just an illusion that he had dreamt up in the hopelessness of the ongoing battle that is being waged outside of the courtyard.
This world of darkness is something that Ye Gui Feng feels a sense of familiarity and unfamiliarity towards. If he had to pick between the two he would probably say that he is more familiar with it than foreign.
(Ah… Is this perhaps the world within the painting?)
Realizing that this is probably the world within the scroll painting Ye Gui Feng only felt more familiar with this place than ever before. He didn’t question why he is here but instead he thought about a certain matter.
There is something that Ye Gui Feng never quite bothered to tell Xiao Ju Hong or Xiao Lian about and this matter is the main reason as to why the sceneries of this entire painting is complete darkness on the surface.
Prior to thinking too deeply about the painting’s secrets Ye Gui Feng also thought back to a question that Xiao Lian had raised to him a while back.
Towards that question Ye Gui Feng did come up with an answer on the same day but he had chosen not to say anything about it without any means to confirm it.
Thinking of the answer that he had come up with to that question Ye Gui Feng thought maybe now would be the best time to tell Xiao Lian about it seeing as how she will probably discover it soon anyways.
Smiling lightly towards Xiao Lian Ye Gui Feng opens his mouth to say-
Hearing the words said by her father with a soft tone of voice Xiao Lian blinks her eyes in a curious manner as she ponders about what he had meant.
Turning his head around Ye Gui Feng continues to move forward and upon taking his next step a colorful rift appears in the far distance.
Circling around this myriad colored rift in a spiraling manner is a three-eyed mask. The design of the red mask looks similar to the face of a Yaksha.
Seeing that red mask in the distance Ye Gui Feng doesn’t show a look of surprise on his face almost as if he had expected that mask to be here.
(Ah… Why? Why didn’t I realize this sooner?)
Ye Gui Feng didn’t know when this “matter” had all started. Perhaps it was the moment in which his Dao Road had been created that everything began but there really isn’t any way to say for certain.
As Ye Gui Feng moves closer to the myriad colored rift the speed of the mask’s movement increases as it gradually widens the rift and approaches him in a ghostly manner.
As the mask nears Ye Gui Feng it produces a body that stands at the same height as Ye Gui Feng himself. The clothes worn by this person is same as his own.
This body that the mask had produced is only visible to Ye Gui Feng alone as Xiao Lian’s eyes are drawn onto the changes of the world around her.
[…In the end… Just which of us is the fake?]
[…In the end… Just which of us is the fake?]
Walking closer and closer to the other Ye Gui Feng and the person wearing the mask raised the same question to each other.
Without stopping the two readily walks right through the other.
Neither of them really had an answer to give to the question that they had raised to the other.
No, it might be better to say that neither of them really had an unbiased answer to give to the other for they believe the other to be the fake.
The moment Ye Gui Feng walks through the person who wore that mask his body gradually fades away into the colorful background whereas the wearer of the mask continues to move forward and walks pass Xiao Lian.
Soon the entirety of this world is repainted into a world of myriad colors as the wearer of the mask heads off into the far distance.
With a dazed look on her face Xiao Lian watches this entire occurrence in awe but upon looking back towards the figure of her father and finding him missing she frowns.
In the far distance Xiao Lian sees a bright light that gives off an alluring sense of warmth that is calling out to her.
With an expression of curiosity Xiao Lian takes a step forward and moves closer and closer to the bright light that is in the far distance.
As moments pass Xiao Lian steps through the bright light and sees a completely different world being presented to her.
Within that world Xiao Lian sees the figure of three individuals. One of them had their back facing her while the other two looked towards her in a gentle manner.
(…I finally know where my place is within the dream that your grandfather had seen.)
An image of her father smiling lightly at her while saying these words to her a moment ago appears in Xiao Lian’s head as she quickly realizes what he had meant by connecting this world’s sceneries to the words that he had said.
Two streaks of tears roll down Xiao Lian’s face.