For a brief moment, the entire forest became submerged into a deathly silence.
When An Fei strained her ears, she discovered that all signs of life had paused, and even the rustling of grass had ceased.
The spring breeze continued to nestle against her cheek, but the forest had frozen into a complete standstill.
Even the mangled white tiger who deeply sought to slaughter the young girl before its eyes, stood in a partial preparatory posture with its remaining hind leg tensed.
An Fei could even discern the corded muscles bulging as the creature’s veins propelled an immense quantity of vitality throughout the body.
A pair of constricted, wrathful golden eyes stared at her visage, yearning the crimson splatter of consecrated life to bless the grass underneath.
However, they could only remain open and stare, unable to budge by a single centimeter.
An Fei’s mouth hung open at the sudden phenomenon that had overtaken the entire Wu Ji Forest. The young girl abruptly swept her gaze around, her mind reeling in confusion.
The sound in the forest had frozen, creating a silent dim that deafened the vicinity.
However, the appearance and color of the forest and the sky had not changed, comprising an unusual and terrifying sight.
Trees remained vibrant and robust with a myriad of colors, the tantalizing and succulent appearance of the herbs and fruits remained unchanged, and the sea of grass below her feet… froze as a sea of a dense green.
The distorted shriek thundered in her ears, and An Fei clapped her hands to her temples to ease the numbing pain.
At the same time, the young girl noticed the forest return to its usual state, no longer frozen to a standstill by a mysterious force.
Nonetheless, the transformation was as though a jolt of electricity had arched through the entire forest; the trees, herbs, grasses, and animals all violently jerked into motion.
The once frozen pulse of vitality that had raced through the entire Wu Ji Forest jumped into motion, hurrying along its selected path with abject terror flooding its heart.
The animals within the young girl’s vicinity revealed horror in their eyes as they fled towards their respective burrows and niches, daring not to continue their activities regardless of their physical need.
The white tiger was no different as it remained staring at An Fei, but the inflections behind its gaze had drastically altered.
From a mind-crippling insanity and drive for blood, the golden irises now revealed a dead expression as well as a deeply rooted fear. The righteous indignance and arrogance that served as a byproduct of its natural superiority was nowhere to be found.
Before the young girl’s nonplussed countenance, the previously arrogant ruler of the forest wrapped its tail around the only remaining hindleg, slinking away into the depths of the forest without a single defiant roar.
A trail of dense, scarlet blood followed its movements, feeding the grass with the overbearing vitality of a noble existence.
“It left just like that…” the young girl murmured to herself, her bottom lip drooping in a slight disappointment.
An Fei shook her head with a numbed sensation coursing through her body, sheathing the twin butterfly swords without hesitation.
The young girl adjusted the position of the leather bag slung over her shoulder, walking in the opposite direction of the white tiger.
The abrupt cry by the raven that sounded more akin to a crow… perhaps she would run into it later.
The handle-less sword trailed behind the young girl as she waded through the sea of grass, unaware that the tender strands parted and made way in acquiescence, their roots trembling in fear.
Just four hours after the conclusion of the incident regarding the insufferably arrogant white tiger, An Fei indeed made contact with a peculiar… crow.
The creature was the first aviation animal that she had discovered in the forest after several weeks of roaming around the Wu Ji Forest.
The young girl had first noticed its presence as it sat atop of the low branches of a short gingko tree, its beak viciously gouging into a gingko nut.
At her initial glance, An Fei didn’t know whether to laugh or gawk at the bird’s unusual movements.
Instead of taking flight and soaring in the overgrowth of the forest with its fellow flying creatures, the little black raven-crow anomaly decided to strut on top of the lower branches with an arrogant attitude.
It was truly a mystery, causing the young girl to pause and glance for an extended period of time. As if noticing her inquisitive stare, the raven tilted its head to gaze towards An Fei, the beady eyes concealing an indeterminate yet profound glint.
The young girl and raven stared at each other, two pairs of eyes interlocked in deep thought.
The raven was the first to break the silence, releasing the cry that An Fei deeply remembered as the one responsible for terrorizing the Wu Ji Forest to its core.
However, the young girl realized that the cry lacked the mystical phenomenon that had frozen the life within the forest, and was merely a call of a little crow.
“This… a crow’s cry?”
An Fei hesitated for a brief moment, the pair of scarlet irises clouding over in thought.
After a brief moment, the young girl’s mumble nearly caused the proudly strutting raven to fall off its perch and onto the ground.
“But… it clearly looks like a raven… why croak like a crow?”
Oblivious to the raven’s death glare, the young girl continued to ruminate to herself regarding the dissonance between the raven’s appearance and its cry.
With each passing instance of time, the glare within the raven’s crimson eyes increased even further until it appeared to be dripping with furious blood.
“Must be an illegitimate child conceived from a bizarre matching… ah, this forest truly is mysterious, for its capable of even this feat!”
Ultimately, An Fei tossed out this remark whist turning around to further explore the forest for a swift pathway towards the exit.
The proud raven was forced to topple from its usually secure branch, colliding against a sharp serrated stem of a fallen acorn resting on the ground. The pitiful creature soared upward with a pained cry, hot tears threatening to pour from its eyes.
However, the raven soon relished in its pain, having accomplished his objective.
The young girl who was in the midst of walking away, could not help but turn around to face the raven, having been startled by the sudden cry.
After turning around, An Fei couldn’t suppress herself from displaying a small frown. The young girl noticed with a trace of bewilderment that watery tears pooled at the base of the raven’s crimson eyes.
The creature’s actions… appeared far too much of a human’s and less of an actual bird.
Then again, so were all the other creatures she had encountered thus far!
“Ah…” the young girl paused, the pair of scarlet irises revealing a trace of hesitation.
The raven… was it crying?
The little creature continued to scratch its head with its claws, tenderly nursing the bruised area with curses running afoul in its heart.
Under An Fei’s completely bemused gaze, the raven savagely tore apart the gingko nut, its golden beak devouring the soft flesh contained within.
The young girl tentatively called out with a soft voice, her countenance displaying a mild interest as she gazed at the small raven. An Fei even extended her right arm towards the little creature, her fingers reaching for its glossy feathers.
As the young girl stood frozen in shock, the little raven darted forward to rub its head against her extended index finger, the gingko nut forgotten in its haste.
An Fei could only watch in an uncomprehending manner as the raven carelessly hopped onto her shoulder, its golden claws snugly clinging to the strap of the leather bag.
“Ah… Hey!” the young girl finally returned to her senses, the fingers of her left hand attempting to disengage the creature from her shoulder.
“What a-are you doing on my shoulder – get off!”
Contrary to her expectations towards the creature whose small frame easily nestled within the palm of her hand, the young girl found to her utter dismay that regardless of her efforts, the little raven refused to leave from its newly acquired perch.
The raven’s golden claws clung tight to the leather bag’s strap, and not even her fingers reinforced with spiritual essence could force it to budge.
“Bloody little crow, you get off me this instant!”
The agonized cry of a young maiden’s alluring voice reverberated throughout the Wu Ji Forest, along with the silent cackling of a raven with the cry of a crow.
In the Immortal Realm, a handsome youth’s lips suddenly arched to produce a profound smirk, the pair of violet irises gleaming with interest and satisfaction.
Seated within the seemingly infinite corridor of sky-blue crystal, the youth dressed in black robes exuded an aura of victory, laughter unable to be constrained within his throat.
At a certain point, the youth even broke his ordered posture to lean backwards onto the crystalline floor, his eyes revealing a deep-rooted mirth.
Forget Deng Lan, Bai Xing, or even Mu Rong Yuan’s undying efforts in condensing a mortal soul to explore the infinite, deceiving caveat known as the myriad collection of mortal worlds… he had just obtained the prize, without having to expend –
“Xiao Hei! You get off this Young Miss’ shoulder this instant!”
The Esteemed Immortal Dongfang Yu’s giddy mood was submerged into the lowest pits of an eternally frozen hell, his lips tugging downwards with great force to produce the most dissatisfied frown his countenance could support.
The youth raised his fist towards the ceiling of the sky-blue crystal corridor, fiercely swearing in his heart.
Call me a crow, and see what I’ll do to you when we finally meet, little girl!