The sea of lightning faded, but for some reason the raging blood in the crowd’s veins and their s.h.i.+vering hearts wouldn’t calm down no matter what. They felt like their very hair, their very cells had fallen into the abyss of terror, and it was a kind of fear they had never experienced even in their worst nightmares.
As the lightning slowly faded, the world eventually turned completely silent. Even the blood stench and killing intent that were originally in the air had been mostly devoured by the sea of lightning.
A blood drenched Yun Che lay on the ground, silent and still. The Heaven Smiting Sword that had conjured countless nightmares was lying soundlessly beside him.
This time, his aura wasn’t the only thing that had become thin. His very existence had become so weak that it was nearly impossible to detect.
Not one Star Guard made an attempt to approach him amidst the terrible silence, however. No one had even dared to take a step forward. Thanks to the nightmares Yun Che had conjured one after another, the Star Guards had completely devolved into frightened birds. They were afraid that this was just a temporary respite of the demon G.o.d, that he would awaken and drag them to the the abyss of death the moment they got closer to him.
“Finally… it’s over.” Tumi, the Heavenly Origin Star G.o.d, closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. It was only after he had calmed down a little that he realized that both his white hair and beard were dripping with cold sweat.
He was a Divine Master, so of course he was aware that the purple sea of lightning that seemed capable of destroying heaven and earth was Yun Che’s final strength. This time, Yun Che truly had exhausted everything he had.
“...” The Star G.o.d Emperor’s face was twitching terribly. His hands were curled into a death grip.
“Both his life and soul aura had become incredibly weak at the same time. It would appear that his unnatural power came at the price of his own life and his soul. The profound veins are the first things that are damaged when a body bears a power beyond its limit, so it is very likely that his profound veins are now… completely destroyed. It will be pointless to spare him even if you want to, my king,” the Heavenly Origin Star G.o.d said slowly.
“End… him… now!!” the Star G.o.d Emperor uttered in a low tone. If he had wanted to capture Yun Che with all his heart before, then now he wanted to see him dead just as much.
“Thankfully, the ritual was just beginning when this… incident happened. In the end, this changes nothing,” the Heavenly Origin Star G.o.d said. Had this distraction happened while the ritual was progressing to the critical part where a Star G.o.d’s power was extracted and fused, things would probably have ended in absolute disaster.
“Wipe him out,” the Heavenly Origin Star G.o.d ordered. “He is completely powerless, and he may very well be dead already. Destroy his body and leave no traces behind!”
The Star Guards answered in unison, but a breath pa.s.sed… two breaths pa.s.sed… three breaths pa.s.sed… and still no Star Guard stepped forward to execute the command. All they did was to exchange a fearful glance with each other. It was unbelievably embarra.s.sing.
“Allow me!” Just when the Star G.o.d Emperor was about to explode in fury, a figure finally stepped forward and jumped into the air. It was the Heavenly Aster Star Guard Commander. As a commander of the Star Guards, it was his duty to take the lead on all matters no matter how reluctant he felt.
The commander had a bruise on his body, a wound Yun Che had left behind during his retaliatory sword strike. The commander was a level nine Divine Sovereign, and his gaze looked cold and determined. However, there was clearly something fleeting far behind his pupils. He had barely closed the distance between him and Yun Che before he came to a stop. It was as if that was as far as his remaining courage would allow. Then, he summoned a ball of profound energy in an attempt to fire it at Yun Che from afar.
Profound light was just gathering in the commander’s hand when suddenly... Yun Che’s remaining arm twitched before his eyes.
It was just an incredibly light s.h.i.+ver, but it had scared the commander of the Heavenly Aster Star Guard so much that he nearly had a breakdown right there. He flew back in what was almost the fastest speed of his life and stopped only when he was even further away from Yun Che than he originally was. The profound light in his hand had also completely crumbled away into nothing.
It was only then the terrified commander realized just how embarra.s.sing and shameful his reaction was, but no one was looking at him with disdain and ridicule. It was because they were all staring at Yun Che with fear and shock in their expressions.
It was because Yun Che was actually moving.
He raised his left arm slowly, grabbed the ground in front of him, and dragged himself slightly forwards. Then, he repeated the same motion… Bit by bit, inch by inch, like an old man who was on his last breath, Yun Che crawled his way to the front...
…to where Jasmine and Caizhi were.
By now, Yun Che’s world had turned completely dark gray.
In this world, there was neither light nor sound. He couldn’t feel pain, couldn’t feel his own existence, and his own location was an enigma to him, much less Jasmine’s location. But he had a feeling, one final bit of thought and willpower left in him, and he allowed it to guide him towards that unknown location.
The world grew even quieter. Not only was it completely silent, time itself seemed to have come to a complete stop. Every person, every gaze was drawn to the crawling figure like they were stuck in a trance. No one had attempted to make a sound, much less move closer to him...
Yun Che’s movement was very, very slow. Every time he raised his arm, it felt like he was expending every last bit of strength he had in him. Even then, he could only move a few inches forward at a time, and every time felt like the absolute last strength he had in him. Yet, he was always able to defy expectations and raise his arm once more.
The world remained eerily silent and still. An indescribable, sorrowful, terrible feeling was pouring into everyone’s chest.
Everyone could see that Yun Che was crawling towards the barrier Jasmine was held in.
When the threat had disappeared, and minds had calmed down, the people suddenly recalled that the devil before them hadn’t come because he bore a terrible grudge towards them or Star G.o.d Realm. The only reason he had come today, was for Jasmine...
For the sake, of their Heavenly Slaughter Star G.o.d.
To that end, he was willing to dye Star G.o.d Realm in red and sacrifice everything he had.
Her father had wanted to kill his own daughter for himself.
He, on the other hand, had charged forth to his death, for her.
There was immeasurable irony and guilt in this. It was such a terrible contrast that they could scarcely bear it.
The belief they had always held fast to was suddenly struck by something invisible and heavy. The soundless vibration of the impact refused to fade even though a long time had pa.s.sed.
Jasmine stared at Yun Che fixedly without a sound, a tear, or even an expression on her face. She just stared at him crawling ever so slowly towards her, not allowing him to leave her vision for even the briefest moment.
Time seemed to flow exceptionally slowly in this silent world. What was an impossible distance to everyone’s eyes was closed slowly but surely by his one arm and undying will.
Even stranger was the fact that no one had attacked Yun Che even though a long time had pa.s.sed. Was it because of fear, or...
No one knew how much time had pa.s.sed. No one even noticed how much time had pa.s.sed. The only thing noticed in their trance was Yun Che reaching a hundred feet away from the barrier. His unbearably broken arm continued to stretch forwards, grab the ground, pull… ninety nine feet... ninety feet… sixty feet… thirty feet…
Finally, he was just a stone throw’s away from her.
Caizhi covered up her own lips with strength, trying not to leak even a bit of sound. Yun Che, the man she had teased or addressed as her “brother-in-law”, the man her sister had forcefully married her to right in front of her mother’s memorial tablet, was originally a handsome and extraordinary person. But now… his clothes were completely tattered, his entire body was covered in dried blood, his wounds were cracked, his bones were peeking into view everywhere… There wasn’t a single part of his body that was even the slightly easy on the eye.
In fact, he looked hundreds and thousands of times scarier than an evil spirit of h.e.l.l who just climbed out of a blood pool.
“Brother-in-law…” She whispered. She never knew that there existed someone in the world who was willing to go so far for another person, for her sister...
He was the “idiot” her sister had berated again and again. There literally wasn’t anyone else who was stupider than him in the whole world...
When Yun Che’s hand hit a cold, icy barrier, his progress finally came to a stop. Even then, he struggled to raise his arm and grab the barrier blocking his way, hoping against hope that his fingers would somehow be enough to tear it down...
Jasmine gently raised her white, delicate hand and pressed it against the colorless, formless barrier that separated her from that bony, blood drenched palm… but they would never, ever touch again.
“Jas… mine…” Yun Che’s voice was weaker than a mosquito’s, and rougher than sandpaper. His eyes were completely blind at this point, and yet somehow he was able to feel Jasmine clearly next to him. “I… wanted… to… take them… down… with... you… but… I… can’t… anymore…”
“I… couldn’t… do… anything…”
“...” Jasmine shook her head very, very gently. “It’s okay. I’m satisfied with just you being here.”
His ears should’ve been—were—deaf to the world, and yet somehow Jasmine’s words were reaching his heart with impossible clarity. His hand tightened around the barrier bit by bit. The approach of death had never been as clear as it was now. “Jas… mine… if… a… next life… exists… will we… meet again…”
“We will.” Jasmine’s smile was barely imperceptible, but her nod was filled with determination. “No matter who you turn out to be in your next life… a man, a devil, a plant, a beast… I will always find you.”
“...” The corner of Yun Che’s mouth curled as if he wanted to make a smile, but it was at this moment his hand slowly slid down the barrier.
His voice was as weak as fading smoke, her voice was as illusory as thin mist, but to the ears of these Divine Sovereigns and Divine Masters, they might as well be a crack of thunder. One by one, the Star Guards bowed their heads in uncontrollable emotion, and even the Heavenly Demon Star G.o.d and Heavenly Jade Star G.o.d were looking away from behind another barrier... They couldn’t begin to describe how unwell they felt.
He was the one who intruded in this place, he was the one who interrupted the ritual, and he was the one who killed hundreds of Star Guards and even an elder… And yet somehow, they felt like they were the ones who were bathed in sin.
The unnatural atmosphere caused the Star G.o.d Emperor’s expression to change again and again. Finally, he let out an angry roar. “What are you all doing… kill him now!!”
The fury of a G.o.d emperor exploded like thunder in the Star Guards’ heads. The Heavenly Aster Star Guard Commander who had humiliated himself earlier hurriedly made an appearance, but he still didn’t dare to get too close to Yun Che just like before. He grabbed his Star G.o.d Spear and tossed it out in a sparkle of starlight.
The Star G.o.d Spear pa.s.sed through a hundred meters and struck Yun Che perfectly at the back of the heart. Not only had the weapon penetrated all the way to the ground, the exploding starlight even caused Yun Che’s body to crack open in a dozen or so places.
Yun Che neither struggled nor groaned in pain. In fact, he didn’t feel anything at all. The only difference was that the footsteps of death had quickened ever so slightly…
“Ah… Brother-in-law! Brother-in-law!!” Caizhi slammed against the barrier and finally broke down in tears. Her cry was filled with terrible sorrow and despair. She kept slamming her hands against the barrier again and again, but her power was suppressed to the point where it couldn’t leave even a mark on it.
“...” Jasmine was completely silent. She simply continued to stare at Yun Che.
The fact that Yun Che hadn’t reacted to the successful attack at all finally gave cause for the Heavenly Aster Star Guard to relax completely. Eyes widened, the man let out a cry and charged at Yun Che while the remaining Star Guards followed him quickly from behind. In an instant, countless spears, swords, starlight, and more were locked onto Yun Che’s figure.
There was a vermillion flash, and Hong’er abruptly appeared next to Yun Che. She pounced onto Yun Che and lifted his remaining arm, a heart rending cry already escaping her lips before she even started speaking, “What happened to you… Master… Uu… Uuuu… Get up… get up…”
Hong’er and Yun Che’s souls were linked together. The eternally happy and carefree girl had seemed like sadness would never touch her. But when she sensed that Yun Che’s soul was about to fade into nothingness, an unprecedented sadness and fear immediately gripped her and drove her to tears.
Yun Che could no longer make a single sound. His final cry was also his final thought.
Unfortunately, the “contract” he shared with Hong’er was something Jasmine had forcefully applied to him with her Soul Star Relegation. As a result, he couldn’t cancel the contract even if he wanted to.
His final thought caused Hong’er to cry even harder than before. “Uaaaaah… no… I don’t want to… Hong’er just wants Master to… Uuu… Get up, Master… Hong’er will listen to you more in the future… Hong’er won’t be greedy in the future… Hong’er won’t make you angry on purpose anymore… so Master… get up…”
Another Star G.o.d Spear fell down from the sky and penetrated Yun Che’s body, the blast of power snapping his body in half. In the next instant, countless more starlights rained onto Yun Che…
Hong’er’s final scream dissipated into the air. The chaotic blasts utterly shattered Yun Che’s powerless, broken body into countless tiny pieces, and Hong’er vanished from the world in one last vermillion light.
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