“Xiao Hei, what do you want?”
“What do you eat?” the young girl pressed on.
“White rabbit? Deer?”
“Plants? Tree nuts? I saw you eating a gingko nut earlier, do you like them?”
“…you do realize that I have no idea what you mean by that, do you?”
An Fei snarkly remarked with a listless countenance as she walked alongside of the undergrowth of the Wu Ji Forest, her eyes continuing to roam throughout her surroundings.
Her right shoulder had long since bade farewell to the leather bag’s strap, but retained its other customer.
…a young raven, though its croaks were more akin to that of a crow.
The black raven screeched in defiance as it glared at the young girl from its perch on her shoulder, the crimson eyes flaring with indignant pride.
Though it dared not to extend its talons in an attempt to scratch the rude host, the little creature did not dare relinquish its grip.
Just earlier, the little raven and her linen coat had a rather interesting tussle, each asserting their dominance over the other in a rather childish scheme.
An Fei had watched the raven attempt to sink its claws through the linen coat’s surface after she had called it a crow for the third time.
Unfortunately, the little bird was left hopping in soaring anger, its wings spread to their maximum length as flames exuded from its eyes.
…forget pinching the young girl’s skin, the coat’s threads did not even fray from its invigorated assaults.
“…what do you want now?” the young girl sighed in exasperation, flicking the little creature on its forehead.
“You little crow, keep on ‘cawing’ about, are you trying to rip my ears apart? I, can’t, understand, your, cries, ah!?”
Having noticed that the black raven had fallen silent, An Fei shook her head whilst stepping over a low root that snaked through the path before her feet.
The young girl returned her focus to her surroundings, her vigilant gaze not failing to notice the several inconspicuous creatures amongst the throng of grass and white rabbits.
…was that another white tiger staring at her from the right?
The young girl suddenly paused her step, the pair of scarlet irises locking onto the white tiger’s silhouette through the thin veil of the drooping branches of a willow tree.
Knocking her mind with a mental note regarding the mysteries of the forest, An Fei hesitated whilst maintaining eye contact with the white tiger.
“Xiao Hei, do you think that the tiger over there would attack, just like how its fellow species did so a few hours earlier?”
The young girl casually tossed its remark to her unwelcoming and insufferably prideful companion, her hands silently dropping to her sash.
An Fei allowed her body to relax, her fingers and palms curling around the calming surfaces of two butterfly swords.
Though she couldn’t finish its earlier countryman off, the young girl was confident that the white tiger before her wasn’t much of –
The little black raven abruptly spread its wings as it drew itself to the maximum height its small frame could muster, a fierce glint emanating from the pair of crimson eyes.
Unbeknownst to the young girl who served as its mount, a dense black radiance burst from its body, enveloping the Wu Ji Forest in a malicious, brutal atmosphere.
The denizens of the forest, however, were fully cognizant of the aura and the dangers associated with its presence, and could not help but obediently retreat towards their dens without a single complaint.
An Fei could only gape as the white tiger who had been silently observing her every movement for the past few minutes retreated behind the veil of willow branches.
In midst of her startle, the young girl anxiously swept her gaze from side to side, only to discover that the same phenomenon was occurring to the other creatures within the sea of grass.
The little creature on her shoulder buffed its chest with a prideful glare, its beak soaring to the heavens as the raven cocked its head to face the young girl’s countenance.
The little raven even dared to lightly peck An Fei’s exposed nape, demanding attention as though an eager child.
Hence, the praise it received manifested in the form of a slap to a feathered black head.
“Hey, don’t do that! Your beak is sharp, it’ll bruise my skin…”
…not even the white rabbits were spared…
An Fei mourned in her heart, her frail beating soul demanding for a taste of succulent rabbit meat.
Grilled over a fire and seasoned with a pinch of salt, pepper, and some chives… the young girl’s mouth gave into the temptation and watered at the mere thought of the meat’s texture.
Alas, her previous rabbit vanished between the clash of a python and panther that were equally terrifying, and now the rabbits within the vicinity were cleared away and removed from her sight…
“Aiyo…” the young girl sighed, her countenance wistfully staring at the azure sky whose appearance was heavily filtered through the dense net of branches of leaves.
“Xiao Hei, when do you think we will be able to leave this forest? It seems that it would rain soon… I either need to hole up or build a shelter… ah.”
She could only follow along the stream of water until she encountered either channel that flowed into a bigger body of water.
Whether she was heading in the direction leading out of the forest or towards its core… An Fei truly had little idea.
Although the little raven on her shoulder clearly knew that she was heading in the wrong direction, it merely closed its eyes to sleep after directing a disdainful glare.
Hmph, this little girl! Daring to call me a little crow, see where it lands you!
The Esteemed Immortal Dongfang Yu of the Immortal Realm suddenly awoke with a tremendous shiver, his countenance displaying a truly unsightly and queasy expression.
The handsome youth immediately clutched the back of his right hand with a pained grunt, his lips parting to blow on the injured surface.
…the corridor of heart crystal stone… wasn’t comfortable to sleep on, especially after it had been claimed by another.
“That little lass…” the youth bitterly complained to himself, the pair of violet irises flashing with an indeterminate light.
“Little crow, little crow, little crow, ah! Maybe I should hand this to Xiao Mo – his race actually matches that stinky lass’ description.”
Dongfang Yu wistfully stared at the faint hub of light at the end of the corridor, his expression darkening once more as the memory of his experiences within the infinite passageway resurfaced.
The youth clutched his temples in mock agony, a faint resonance of divine essence emanating from his body.
His Master had informed him that the inheritances of the realm as that of the Forsaken Goddess’ legacy resonated with each other… but why was he present in this infinite misery?
He, an early Heavenly Immortal, unable to escape from a single corridor of heart crystal stone, only able to shamble forward as though the world’s poorest beggar in existence? Moreover, one that had even contested the legendary Half-Step Immortal’s celestial Li and won within three moves?
What kind of laughingstock would that be?
“Argh! When this ends, I need to seek an explanation from Master!”
The youth slammed his palm onto the floor of the passageway, his expression contorted as hints of uncontrollable rage seeped into the pair of violet irises.
Dongfang Yu gnashed his teeth as thoughts of the passageway of heart crystal stone and his incoming tribulation corroded at this consciousness.
“I…I.. never had really thought enough before accepting Master’s offer…” the youth groaned, his reason compromising and overcoming his rampant emotions, one centimeter at a time.
“Dongfang, Dongfang, you’ve completed Master’s tribulations regarding the Heavenly Fires and Calamities of Nature, how could you back down in the face of a simple passageway of heart crystal stone? It’s not like I’m about to face a Yin Spirit or the Heavenly Generals… don’t you dare vent your emotions on an innocent mortal girl!”
Dongfang Yu continued to berate himself in an ever-increasing detached manner, his back leaning against the cold surface of the sky-blue crystal.
The youth stared at the faint hub of light that promised a fleeting hope, the pair of violet irises reflecting a similar sentiment.
“An infinite corridor, an infinite corridor of heart crystal stone… that old geezer An is truly blackhearted. I suppose Bai Xing and Mu Rong Yuan aren’t facing considerably well either, given how rash and arrogant they acted…”
The esteemed immortal softly consoled himself, taking a deep breath as he dragged his mentally drained self through the infinite corridor that lay before him.
Centimeter by centimeter, the youth belonging to the lineage of the Forsaken Goddess’s faction crawled through the tribulation of the Immortal Realm, his black hair gently obscuring the raging glint immersing his violet eyes.
“Master, Master, didn’t you say this was easy…? Why… does it feel like it’s of greater difficulty compared to the tribulation of the Heavenly Fires? At least, that one was interes-”
“-Xiao Hei! You, you, you, you scared the rabbits away, what am I supposed to eat now?”
The soft and charming voice belonging to a young and irresistibly beautiful maiden tugged at his heart strings, causing the youth to pause his steps, a tantalizing smile to encroach on his handsome countenance.
However, the words that followed forced his mood to plummet to the eighteenth hell, his lips incapable of anything else than a queer twitch.
Deep breath in!
Deep breath out!
The Esteemed Immortal Dongfang Yu roared, his long black hair wildly streaming around his body as a violet radiance erupted from his core to stain the tranquil atmosphere of the infinite corridor with a malevolent battlefield.
“You get down there this instant, and remove the attribute of a crow! Little crow, little crow, little black crow – I refuse to have my dignity of a raven tainted in such a form!”