"That old fox!" Feng Yixuan suddenly roared.
"What?" Claire glanced back and saw Feng Yixuan was furious.
"He's too devious! He said that as long as I could find the tallest mountain peak, I just needed to pass the nine levels to reach the top and return," Feng Yixuan roared. "If he told me there was a teleportation formation, then I wouldn't need to fight. I could just sneak up there while concealing my aura, find the teleportation formation, and then return." Sneaking up there without fighting did seem like a pretty good idea.
However, Claire knew. "Let's go." Since the senior had sent them here to train, there was no way they could reach the peak so easily.
Claire's conjecture was completely correct. The mountain, called the Mountain of Rebirth, was split in nine levels, each with a city. Each city had a powerful ruler and only those who reached a certain level of strength could proceed to the next level. If one was strong enough, one could challenge the city lord for their position. Like a pyramid, each level was higher than the other and the higher one went, the stronger people one would meet. Here, no one was held accountable for murder. There was no notion of laws. This was the land of the free, also the land of violence and bloodshed.
These lands were a sort of training ground, coined by people of the other world Claire and Feng Yixuan had come from as the Land of Rebirth. There was another name for this place, however: the Bloody Cesspool.
At this moment in time, Astral Feng was still hammering away. He muttered to himself, "If that girl and damn brat manage to pass the nine cities, they'll come back reborn. Aiya~ya, I'm looking forward to it."
It would be a bloody baptism!
Claire and Feng Yixuan continued to fight on their way up the Mountain of Rebirth. Just because they weren't looking for trouble didn't mean trouble wouldn't look for them.
The reasons why they fought continued to grow even more ridiculous. Some took a liking to the ornament on Feng Yixuan's waist, others took a liking to Claire's clothes. People fought them with all kinds of excuses. The road to the peak was an arduous and long one. The two's coordination was still seamless as they continued to kill powerful foes, but these foes were only relatively powerful. The true experts were congregated at the peak. Naturally, at times they would run into people they couldn't beat. For instance, the two were currently being chased around frantically.
"Claire, you go first!" Feng Yixuan instantly released countless wind blades to defend.
This time, their opponent was a terrifying old magician. The old man had eagle eyes that glittered with malice. The reason why he had attacked Claire and Feng Yixuan was beyond reasonable: because they weren't pleasing to the eye. Just because of this, he was trying to kill them.
"Tch!" the old man clicked his tongue disdainfully. With a wave of his sleeve, the wind blades were scattered, leaving behind only a slight breeze. Feng Yixuan's expression changed. Without any hesitation, he threw himself before Claire. The old man laughed, approaching them slowly step by step with a relaxed expression.
Claire was silent. With a flight of her fingers, countless small golden lotuses appeared.
Before Claire could cast Thousand Terrors, the old man's expression changed immediately. He hurriedly backed away and eyed Claire cautiously, then asked in a loud voice, "What is your relation to Si Konglin?"
His voice actually carried a trace of fear!
Feng Yixuan froze and Claire was taken aback. Claire hadn't even said a word, yet the old man was continuously backing away.
His voice low, he muttered, "Knowing Si Konglin's Treasured Lotus Style...." The fear in his voice continued to become more audible. The terrifying old man actually turned around and flew away speedily, as if escaping.
Claire watched as the old man disappeared, silent. Who exactly was Si Konglin? Such a terrifying and powerful old man was so afraid of him!
"It seems he thought you were Si Konglin's disciple." Feng Yixuan stroked his chin thoughtfully, looking off into the distance. "Just how strong is Si Konlin? Supposedly, he's stronger than gramps, but I've never seen gramps lose to anyone."
With a flick of her finger, the countless lotuses disappeared. Claire too felt puzzled. Who exactly was Si Konglin?
"Claire, let's go." Feng Yixuan suddenly turned around. HIs face was only an inch away from Claire, who was deep in thought. He was so close, he could feel Claire's breathing on his face.
Suddenly feeling Feng Yixuan's warm breath, Claire's heart clenched and she struck without thinking.
"Ahhh..." Feng Yixuan didn't even dodge, so the fist hit him squarely in the face. Once again, he had a black eye.
"If you come close again, I'll fill your face with bruises." Claire turned around, humphing coldly, and started to walk away. She let out a breath, trying to settle her tense heart. That damn Feng Yixuan! Suddenly getting so close and startling her, he was looking for a beating!
"Wait for me." Feng Yixuan clutched his eye, hastily giving chase. However, he was smiling faintly.
Three months passed. No one knew who they had faced or what Feng Yixuan and Claire had experienced.
On Feng island, Senior Feng was crouching on the ground, fumbling with a vegetable basket. He lived in solitary and completely relied on himself for sustenance. Afterall, he was still human, needing to eat.
"Aiya, when will they return?" The old man took out a small crystal and examined it, but nothing was different. He had marked Feng Yixuan when he left so that if Feng Yixuan was back in this world, the crystal would react.
"It's already spring." The old man yawned, then put the crystal away. He and Si Konglin had only managed to return after three years. Who knew when the brat and girl would come back.
While Feng Yixuan and Claire were in the Land of Rebirth, the situation in Amparkland had changed drastically.
Amparkland, the palace: Princess Maurice's bedroom
"Elder brother, the crown prince unexpectedly agreed to the Temple's conditions!" Princess Maurice's expression was heavy. Nancy paced in the room. They never expected the first prince to actually agree to the Temple's demands! Agreeing to the demands mean that the Temple would have more powerful than the Crown! How could he let that happen!
"I too did not expect him to do such a foolish thing for the thrown. For years, divine right and royal authority have been on equal ground, but he is going to break the balance! Those old lazy conmen want to rule royalty? In their dreams! I would never agree to such conditions!" Nancy's eyes were filled with fury, his knuckles white. Such conditions were simply too insulting!
"But what can we do now?" Princess Maurice frowned in thought. Duke Gordan had sent Jean to assist elder brother, but even though his grandson Eric publically supported the crown prince, Duke Gordan had never interfered. Perhaps he wanted to... double dip*?!
*me: what is a more formal way to say double dip
*Friend: Doublus Dippus
"Duke Gordan, that old fox!" Nancy gnashed his teeth. He sat down, watching Princess Maurice. "That old fox, he secretly sent Jean to assist me so that if I ascend the throne, he will become a minister of outstanding service. No one knows, not even the crown prince. His grandson, however, supports to the first prince, and he doesn't interfere. On the surface, it looks like it's Eric's lone decision, but in reality, it isn't so."
"Correct. He is going to sit back and watch relaxedly. To him, it is a win-win situation!" Princess Maurice's heart hardened. What a sly old fox! But would his wish come true?
"We don't even know if he is helping the crown prince secretly just as the crown prince is unaware Duke Gordan is secretly helping us." Nancy's voice was fierce, but carried a trace of helplessness.
"But we still have Katherine as a trump card." Princess Maurice sighed. If possible, she didn't want to use this trump card. She didn't want to hurt Claire and knew how important Katherine was to her.
"Don't even think about using Katherine. Even though she is a prominent figure of the Hill clan, I have already promised Claire Katherine's safety." Nancy frowned, staring into Princess Maurice's somber eyes. He knew his sister better than anyone. Maurice only showed her true self before him. She was not as innocent as she seemed. Her cunning was far above his intellect. If Maurice were a man, who knew who would be the emperor!
"I know." Maurice nodded, her expression dark. "But elder brother, sometimes in order to achieve great things, there needs to be sacrifices."
"Maurice, I know you are doing this for my behalf, but..." Nancy's expression became complex.
"But you have developed feelings for Claire, so you do not want to do anything that will hurt her." Maurice's expression sharpened, becoming ice cold.
Nancy was speechless. Maurice's words had hit the nail on the head. He simply stared, unable to say a word.
"Elder brother, you know the reason why I have never been interested in any men for all these years." Her expression was still icy.
Nancy's eyes flashed with helplessness and pain. Although his sister had the appearance of a woman, she thought of herself has a man! That was why for so many years, Princess Maurice had never fallen for any men. Only he knew this secret!