When Ye Zichen said that, the surrounding air seemed to solidify.
The little foxes all heard his voice tremble, and saw that Su Yan had completely frozen in place.
“How could it be him?” This same sentence echoed through her mind. As they silently looked into each other’s eyes, the little boy spoke up.
“Big Sister Su Yan, do you know him?”
“I don’t.” Her face suddenly grew cold. She glowered at Ye Zichen, her expression shifting nonstop. Her hands clenched into fists. “This person trespassed on our sacred mountain. He could be another clan’s spy. Little Gang, to alert the members of the third hall and have them take him into custody. The Clan Head can resolve this once she leaves seclusion.”
After giving her orders, Su Yan left without so much as holding back. The instant she turned away, however, they all saw her shoulders quivering.
She seemed to laugh and cry at the same time. She didn’t stop until she’d left the mountain completely. Then, finally, she glanced back in the direction of Ye Zichen and the towering ancient tree the children had tied him to.
“It took eight seconds to despise you, eight minutes to leave your side, eight hours to throw away everything that reminded me of you, eight months to set thoughts of you aside, and eight years to forget you completely. Then you show up out of nowhere and ask ‘how’ve you been?’ All of my memories have come back to life. Hah…. Who gave you the audacity? I said I’d hate you for the rest of my life, that I could never, ever forgive you. And yet….. I’m glad you’re still alive.”
It was like a damn had burst; hot tears coursed down her cheeks. She sighed, her eyes still glinting with tears, and flew away.
Little Gang, the leader of the children, scrunched up his bros as he watched Su Yan fade into the distance, then saw Ye Zichen’s astonishment turn bitter. He looked between them, then scratched his head in confusion.
He was still too young to understand what had happened between them.
“Big Sister Su Yan says she doesn’t know you. What do you have to say for yourself now?” The little boy frowned at him.
Ye Zichen pursed his lips and chuckled, but made no attempt to explain himself. “Nothing.”
As expected, for the crime of trespassing in the heart of fox clan territory, they threw Ye Zichen into prison.
He breathed in his cell’s dank air and recalled Su Yan’s attitude. He smiled faintly, shook his head, and sat upon the cell’s bed. He had a gourd of immortal brew with him, and he poured swig after swing of booze down his throat.
A full half day passed just like that. When he looked up, all he saw was a sliver of light through the cell’s window. He ignored it, and simply lost himself in alcohol.
At that moment, the prison doors swung open and a tall, cold, and aloof woman stepped inside. She walked right up to Ye lichen’s cell, subconsciously pinched her nose at the stench, and frowned. “Why does it reek so badly in here?”
When he heard her voice, Ye Zichen set his drink down and looked outside his cell. When he saw the woman, he couldn’t help but smile. “Big Sister Liu’er, long time no see.”
“So it really was you!” When she saw that the prisoner was Ye Zichen, Su Liu’er didn’t seem surprised at all. Instead, it seemed like this result was rather obvious to her.
“I just got back to the clan and heard that someone had trespassed on our holy mountain, then insisted he knew me and my little sister. I just went to see Su Yan, and she hemmed and hawed but said nothing. From the look of things, she’d been crying not long ago. I thought about it, and figured it couldn’t be anyone else.”
In the past hundred years, Su Liu’er had grown colder and prouder. Her every word and action seemed to say, “stay away from me.”
She hadn’t wanted Su Yan to get together with Ye Zichen right from the start. After going through a lot together, her impression of Ye Zichen improved somewhat. Now that Su Yan seemed highly averse to him, Su Yan naturally had no desire to see them reunited.
“According to those kids, you’re here to see the head of our Nine-Tailed Fox Clan. Coincidentally, she just left seclusion. I’ll take you to see her now.”
The seals broke and the door to his cell opened. Ye Zichen stepped outside and said, “Sorry for the trouble, Big Sister Liu’er.”
“What trouble? Although I’ve never liked you, I at least understand you. If you say you have business with our clan head, I’m sure you’re telling the truth. I don’t want my sister’s stubbornness to delay your affairs.”
She glanced at him indifferently and led him out of the prison. Ye Zichen sighed in bewilderment. He had a million things to say, yet he followed her in silence.
Su Liu’er led him to a bamboo forest. Each stalk was a full inch thick, and it was impossible to tell its age. They towered above with no end in sight.
The forest’s layout was unique, with countless little intercrossing paths. A moment’s inattention and it would be easy to get lost.
Ye Zichen had no idea how many winding paths they’d walked. Finally, Su Liu’er led him into a hidden clearing. His eyes filled with steam from a hot spring with a bamboo building beside it.
“Aunty Wan.” Su Liu’er came to a sudden stop, then bowed towards the spring. For the first time, ye Zichen noticed a woman within the mists. She was facing away from them. Her back was as white as snow and as smooth as a pearl.
It was just a brief glance, but Ye Zichen's heart had already stirred. He hurriedly looked away; he dared not think any profane thoughts.
“Someone’s here.” The woman in the hot spring’s voice was sweet and gentle. Ye Zichen heard the sound of running water. Before long, the woman spoke once more. “Come here, both of you.”
The woman had already put on the clothes she had prepared for her by the edge of the spring. Su Liu’er and Ye Zichen approached, stopping about five meters away, then greeted her respectfully.
“Ye Zichen pays his respects to the Clan Head.”
The woman glanced at him indifferently, nodded, then turned to Su Liu’er. “Liu’er, you can head back for now.”
Su Liu’er didn’t hesitate. She immediately disappeared back into the bamboo forest. The woman pointed to the seat across from her. “Sit.’
Foxes lived up to their reputation as the most beautiful of all the yao. The men were handsome and the women were gorgeous. Their clan head was even more astonishing; she was a one-in-a-million beauty.
However, she wasn’t just a pretty face; she was one of the Upper Three Realm’s mightiest experts.
When he sat across from her, Ye Zichen couldn’t help but feel somewhat on edge.
There was a lengthy pause. Rather, they sat there in silence as she sized him up. Finally, she was the first to break the silence. “Did Emperor Hades send you here?”
“He did.” Ye Zichen nodded, pulled the pale blue command medallion the emperor had left him from his pocket, and set it on the table. “His Excellency Emperor Hades sent me to go find you and ask that you open a gateway to the Lower Three Realms.”
Previous Chapter Next Chapter