The scarlet dragon forced the handle-less to cease its flight and descend onto the earth with a heavy heart. As it casually booted the still relatively uncomprehensive An Fei onto the ground, Xilong felt its heart clench with a shred of woeful expectation.
With that expression on her countenance, she was bound to overreact soon…
…and indeed, though its stubbornness often landed it into heaps of unforgiveable trouble, Xilong’s intuition was never wrong.
An Fei hummed in a low voice as she forced her sea of perception to cycle through her memories, and her brows unconsciously formed deep grooves, adding a bit of gloom to her appearance.
The young girl’s consciousness shuttled through the memories of just moments prior, going as far as even calling the golden kernel of spiritual essence stowed away in her heart.
She revisited the endless azure sea as well as the dual whirlpools and their infinite cycle of transformations. She saw the sea from horizon to horizon, but the feeling of tranquility and content that she had experienced during her mental haze wasn’t there. No matter how long she observed the threads of water manifest all of their possible physical states, the sensation of peace was absent – almost as though she were staring at a colored photograph that endlessly transitioned from one end to another.
It was dead.
There wasn’t any vibrancy within her memory, none of the lingering sensations and freedom that she had experienced just before.
What lay within her sea of perception was a fragment of the whole – a copied fragment, nonetheless – and the young girl was forced to acknowledge it. However…
“Who is that?”
An Fei’s lips screamed out the phrase, her mind blazing with a myriad of alarmed thoughts. The young girl played back her memories, and watched a perfect male countenance loom over her stiffened body, stroke her head for a few moments, then flutter his fingers towards her cheek and lips…
Just who was that!?
“An Immortal Being, though a young one at that.”
Xilong replied with a bland tone, releasing a sigh once realizing that his words had once again shot directly above the attention threshold of the young girl.
The heavenly dragon coiled around the hovering handle-less blade, locking its spatial coordinates in place as it stared directly at An Fei’s back.
He stroked her head, palmed her cheek, then tried to touch her lips…
Not to mention, before abruptly pulling away, he breathed a set of indecipherable words into her right ear…
Just how did he simply appear directly before her in the first place?
How did he manage to stand atop the handle-less blade whilst it was in motion, none the less?
The heavenly dragon had forced the handle-less sword downwards, to abruptly dodge the incoming streak of light, then the youth had suddenly appeared standing mere centimeters away from her body.
There was no sound indicating his arrival, no shimmer of light, nothing – he appeared without a trace, as though it was intended in the world for such phenomenon to happen…
An Fei’s lips twitched violently as her dulled ears finally registered the word flippantly tossed from the heavenly dragon’s lips. Her heart heaved at the magnitude and severity of the word, and a numb sensation began to race through her body, starting from the fingertips.
Every book, every manual – everything within the sanctuary of sky-blue crystal had some mention of Immortal Beings, and the presence of the Realm.
During the course of the year, the young girl had managed to obtain a technical knowledge and overview of the Realm and its qualities, but this was her first experience with an Immortal Being.
…and it wasn’t rather in the manner she preferred, but…
“I met an Immortal Being, and he touched my head, my cheek, then my lips…”
A broken voice escaped from An Fei’s throat, the disbelief evident and ever-pronounced from the shellshocked expression on her countenance. The young girl’s fingers rose to firmly pat against the top of her head, then her cheeks, and finally her lips. Then, with dully flickering irises, her lips parted to gently trace the words carved into her ears.
“Such a pretty countenance… why hide it behind a muddy veil…”
He had seen through her disguise. Whoever that Immortal Being was, he had seen her true appearance – everything was exposed for him to appreciate.
The young girl blinked. The next moment, the kernel of golden light locked deeply within her chest erupted with a golden splendor.
“He… he saw me. He saw everything, everything, everything…”
The words rambled off of her lips, and An Fei wasn’t even certain why she was saying such words. Her coldly trained sea of perception, her rational self, and her consciousness frowned in disapproval towards the present actions of her body. And yet, the young girl burned with an unholy rage.
She didn’t know why.
It was an impulse, one that could neither be traced to an origin nor be decomposed into an ordinally structured argument. Logic and reason found no reason for her to react in such fashion, but an unknown, untraceable pride within the deep recesses of her Construct blazed with unforgiveable ardor.
The golden kernel of light heavily quivered once, twice, then a third time. With each pulsation that raced through her body, An Fei felt the connection between her and the Sanctum increase in magnitude. It was an unusual feeling, one that she could neither explain nor pursue.
The sanctuary of sky-blue crystal seemed so close to her fingertips, but the young girl knew that its actual location was in a small pocket of space, locked away deeply within the unforeseeable void of the Realm…
Whilst the young girl dawdled in her thoughts, the golden kernel of light did not remain in inactivity. Spreading throughout An Fei’s body and coalescing at her fingertips, the spiritual essence firmly called out towards the handle-less sword.
It was a divine call, one that demanded for absolute obedience, and tolerated absolutely no dissonance.
The scarlet inscriptions on the surface of the handle-less sword howled as they erupted with a pure, golden radiance. An artificial sun descended onto the steel blade and enshrined an altar of reverence, but then a heavenly dragon’s tail firmly clamped down.
The handle-less sword screamed in protest, and shuddered in mid-air, but Xilong refused to relent. The scarlet dragon flicked at one of its whiskers in annoyance, and turned to face An Fei.
“I’m not doing anything.”
The young girl quickly replied in a heartbeat, her countenance displaying an expression of disbelief and curiosity. An Fei pursed her lips as she stared towards her body, as well as the struggling body of the handle-less sword.
A surging warmth spread from the kernel of golden light locked deeply within her chest, and threads of spiritual essence permeated her body and culminated at her fingertips.
From there, an invisible connection was forged between her and the handle-less sword – an invisible connection that was visible not to her eyes, but her heart.
And through her the connection, she glanced upon the sentiment engraved into the handle-less sword. From there, she obtained two fuzzy words.
The ‘bai’ was the standard character meaning ‘white’, and the ‘xing’ represented the term ‘inspect’. It was a common name from An Fei’s memories, but from the handle-less sword’s abrupt reaction, she could only ruminate whether the two characters represented the name of the Immortal Being.
Xilong continued to observe the young girl, and An Fei stared at the floating handle-less sword in wonder.
The three maintained an awkward yet stable atmosphere, until a thread of pride threatened to envelope the world, prompting the scarlet dragon to curl its whiskers in confusion.
“You mustn’t lose control of your emotions. Any other time, I won’t stop you from venting all of your feelings. But now – you are not stable, and any rash action might inflict grievous harm onto yourself.”
The heavenly dragon sternly warned, an expression of worry and concern etched onto its scaly countenance. The young girl smiled back towards where she assumed Xilong guarded from above, a warm sensation of gratitude throbbing in her heart.
“Xilong, it’s not that I’m not losing control,” An Fei whispered towards the emotionless skies.
“I’ve never been in control since the start. At the least, not when it came to the matters of the sanctuary.”
The golden kernel of light issued another mandate enriched with divine will, and this time, the heavenly dragon’s spiritual imprint was forced to let go of the handle-less sword. With a tremendous clap of sound and a fierce roar, the steel blade flew in the direction where Bai Xing had left.
In that moment, the mortal world experienced an archaic pride, one that not even the Realm had witnessed for an uncountable period of time.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.