Just like that, the Shang Dynasty was utterly destroyed, King Zhou of Shang its final emperor.
By the time King Wu of Zhou reached the imperial palace, it had been set on fire and burned intensely. No one found King Zhou’s corpse, nor that of Daji, the temptress who, according to rumors, had beguiled and bewitched him.
At the same time, Xia Liuli disappeared and was never seen again.
A hundred years passed.
After waking up, Xuan Ji searched nonstop for a full hundred years.
She traveled throughout the lands and seas, and had even visited the territory of the Dragon Race, but she hadn’t found even a single trace of Xia Liuli.
Sometimes, she thought that her big sister must’ve died amidst the flames alongside King Zhou. Other times, she thought she might’ve saved him, and that now the two of them lived together in some inaccessible secret location.
But she couldn’t prove it either way, because before long, she ascended.
After her ascension, she trained even more bitterly and began to research fate and the art of divination. She did all this because she remembered what Xia Liuli had once said to her….
When her strength reached a high enough level, she could use her knowledge of heavenly law to view other peoples’ destinies.
The whole time, that string of bells was her only companion.
“Big sister! Big sister?”
Back within the hidden land, Xia Keke couldn’t hold back any longer; she tapped Lady Providence’s shoulder. The sky had already darkened, but in all that time, Lady Providence hadn’t said even a single word.
When Xia Keke touched her, Lady Providence woke with a start. Especially when she saw Xia Keke’s face, it was as if those memories happened just yesterday.
“Big sister, you’re finally awake!,” Xia Keke giggled joyfully. “You said nothing for so long that I was worried something had happened to you.” With that, she passed the bells back over.
“Earlier you said these bells were extremely important to you, so I’d like to give them back. But could you let me take one of those shiny gemstones in its place?”
Xia Keke had chosen the bells simply because they’d given her a strange sensation, but while Lady Providence stood there in silence, she’d had time to mull over that mountainous pile of gemstones.
The more she thought of it, the more she felt she’d chosen poorly, so she wanted to return the bells and choose something new.
“Do you regret it?” asked Lady Providence with smile. Xia Keke gnawed her lower lip and blushed, but nodded nonetheless.
Then, seemingly embarrassed, she said “I just thought that since those bells were so important to you, if I took them you’d be sad. I just thought… I just thought…”
“Since you chose those bells, they’re destined to be with you. Even though they’re as important to me as my own life, I won’t take them back,” said Lady Providence, laughing and clasping her hands behind her back. “From now on, you are the owner of those bells.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Xia Keke had no choice but to accept reality. Even if she felt it a bit of a shame not to have chosen a precious stone, the bells seemed connected to her, so keeping them was okay too.
As she thought this, her bitter expression brightened into a smile. Seeing Xia Keke’s smile, Lady Providence smiled knowingly back.
Su Liu’er’s heart leaped as she watched from the sidelines. There was clearly something going on between Lady Providence and Xia Keke. Although she’d also mentioned Xiao Yumei and Chang’e, she’d only said a little.
It was, unsurprisingly, quite difficult to comprehend the thoughts of a deity. At least, Su Liu’er hadn’t managed it yet.
But now that she thought about it, what point was there in guessing?
No matter what Lady Providence was up to, she had saved Su Yan’s life. This alone meant that Su Liu’er wholeheartedly desired to repay her.
She cast those complicated thoughts aside, then turned to Lady Providence and said,
“Lady Providence, it’s already dark out. I’m sure you spent considerable energy treating Ye Zichen and my little sister. As for the rest of you, you’ve also had a long day. I’ve arranged guest rooms for all of you. How about I lead you there so you can have a nice rest?
“Yeah! Yeah! Big Sister Liu’er is right! Now that you mention it, I really am tired!” said Xia Keke excitedly.
“I’d prefer to wait here until Zichen wakes up,” said Xiao Yumei.
“Me too,” added Chang’e.
“I appreciate your good intentions,” said Lady Providence. “But I can’t stay here any longer. I have many things to deal with back in the God Realm, and can’t stay here for long. It’s time to return to the God Realm.”
“I understand,” nodded Su Liu’er. She seemed to want to say something else, but couldn’t quite find the words
“Those two in the secret realm should wake up within three days. There’s no need to worry about them,” said Lady Providence comfortingly, seeming to sense her thoughts.
As Su Liu’er spoke, Lady Providence took out a jade slip and placed it in her palm.
“You can contact me directly with this jade slip. If they haven’t woken up within three days, you can use it to get in touch with me.”
“Thank you so much, and sorry for the trouble,” said Su Liu’er, finally at ease. She placed the slip into her pocket.
At the same time, Lady Providence turned towards Xiao Yumei and Chang’e and said, “it’s good that the two of you have met. From now on, you should get closer. It’ll be good for both of you.”
“Yes,” they agreed and bowed respectfully despite not fully understanding her meaning.
They didn’t entirely understand what she was trying to say, but they bowed and agreed.
“Big sister,” said Xia Keke, batting her eyes and pouting her lips. “You’re leaving already? I’d hate to part from you.” Her gaze was reluctant, and she still grasped those bells firmly in her palms.
She’d just met this new big sister of hers, but she’d treated her really really well.
They’d only been together a short time but already had to part; of course she was reluctant.
“I really do have to go back,” sighed Lady Providence, then reached out to pinch Keke’s cheeks. “I’ll miss you too, but the God Realm’s Inspection Bureau needs me to take care of things. That said, you needn’t worry. When I have time, I’ll come definitely back to see you. Of course, once you’ve ascended, you can come to the Inspect Bureau to look for me, too.”
“Fine,” Xia Keke said poutingly and hung her head. Lady Providence, seeing this, laughed and ruffled her hair, then snapped her fingers. A spirit pillar containing a gate appeared within Nine-Tailed Fox Clan’s hidden land.
“Then, I’ll head out now,” said Lady Providence. She opened the gate and stepped through it. They all bid her farewell, bowing politely, and Xia Keke pouted her lips and waved reluctantly.
Suddenly, the pillar disappeared.
Xia Keke’s face revealed undisguised dismay. The other women looked at each other uncomprehendingly. Little did they know, Lady Providence was watching them in a mirror….
Rather you could say she was watching Xia Keke.
“Big Sister Liuli, it’s really been a long time,” she whispered, voice calm yet filled with loneliness, then dispersed the images reflected in the mirror. As she did this, an imposing voice transmitted itself into her consciousness.
“Providence,” it said. “Come to the Divine Palace.”
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