Huang’er listened with rapt attention. Her heart leapt to her throat when Jiang Chen relayed his experiences on Winterdraw Island. She felt both pride and heartache for her beloved. He had overcome so many difficulties and dangers to come to her. How would she not be moved?
“Oh right, Huang’er, didn’t you estimate that it’d take decades for you to reach half-step empyrean? What’s caused the dramatic growth in your cultivation after only a few years?” That was what Jiang Chen was most curious about.
“Brother Chen, after returning to my family, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t miss you greatly, so I threw myself into cultivation. For some reasons, I progressed at an unusual rate. Before I knew it, I had broken through great emperor and reached half-step empyrean.”
Jiang Chen mused, “Your parents must be of remarkable bloodlines, and they passed down the best heritage to you. That’s why you have an unparalleled natural talent in martial dao.”
Even he marveled at the speed in which she had improved.
“Your cultivation has grown quickly as well, Brother Chen. You were first level emperor realm when I left, and now you’re already great emperor.”
“Haha, how can I say I’ve improved quickly when there’s you?” Jiang Chen said teasingly.
Huang’er giggled. “Perhaps the breakthrough is to compensate for my lack of progress when I was in the human domain.”
During those years, she hadn’t improved much in martial dao, the main reason being the Generation Binding Curse hindering her cultivation.
They’d been apart for years. Naturally they had a lot to talk about.
Jiang Chen sighed and brought up a new topic in a conflicted tone, “There’s something we need to talk about, Huang’er.”
“Tell me, Brother Chen.” Her eyelashes fluttered when she noticed the heaviness in his voice. She looked up at him with eyes as tender as water.
“During my trials in the Eternal Spirit Mountain, I was set up and accidentally consumed an aphrodisiac. A woman saved me while I was under the influence, but I never knew who she was. It wasn’t until later that I learned she was Master Ye Chonglou’s disciple, Dan Fei, whom I met when I was in Skylaurel Kingdom. After she sacrificed her chastity to save me, she went missing. It was much later that I found out Lady Dan’er, whom Emperor Peafowl had taken under his wing, was Dan Fei. She gave birth to my daughter...”
The thought of hiding the affair from Huang’er had never crossed Jiang Chen’s mind. That said, he worried that she would be crushed by the knowledge.
After a brief pause, Huang’er chuckled. “Are there any other affairs you haven’t told me about, Brother Chen?”
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. “Just that one. I’ve wronged you, Huang’er, but if I didn’t accept that responsibility, that would be a bigger betrayal to Dan Fei and Nian’er.”
“Nian’er?” she muttered. “Jiang Nian’er? That’s a pretty name. Brother Chen, were you worried that I’d be jealous?”
He shook his head with a stilted smile.
She rested both her hands on his shoulders and met his gaze with adoring eyes. “There are countless men in the world, Brother Chen. Why do I love only you? You’re responsible, knowledgeable, and magnamious. There are a lot of things I greatly admire you for. Of course I won’t be the only one to fall for an extraordinary man like you. Dan Fei and the Ling sisters from Regal Pill Palace are all deeply in love with you as well. Doesn’t Sister Gouyu harbor romantic feelings for you too?”
Huang’er was remarkably intelligent. She had been with Jiang Chen long enough to know how popular he was among women.
She knew all about Ling Bi’er’s and Ling Hui’er’s feelings. She’d even seen Ling Hui’er taking Jiang Chen’s hand and place it on her chest. She was very smart to not point these things out and just let them take through their natural courses. Even if Jiang Chen ended up falling for them, she wouldn’t judge him for that.
Most women’s love was obsessively possessive. They wanted an extraordinary man to be theirs and theirs alone. Sometimes, it was too much to ask for.
Huang’er wasn’t a regular woman. Her love was purer and more selfless. It was beyond the self-serving love of the mortals. That was why she didn’t hold a grudge against Dan Fei; it was against her nature to be selfish.
Besides, Dan Fei had given away her innocence to Jiang Chen, but she left him afterwards instead of clinging to him. Huang’er respected her for that.
“Don’t feel guilty, Brother Chen. If not for you, I would’ve lost my purpose in life like a wilted flower. You gave me the opportunity to start anew. You bring color to my life. I hope that there are more people at your side caring for and loving you.”
She was overwhelmed by her love for him. She put her face to his chest, revelling in the heat of his masculinity. This was what happiness felt like. Nothing else mattered to her.
Jiang Chen put his arms around her and caressed her beautiful hair. “How high is Xiahou Zong’s cultivation, Huang’er?” he asked gently.
She trembled at the mention of Xiahou Zong. The man had caused her a lifetime of nightmares.
“Don’t worry, Huang’er. That name will soon disappear from Myriad Abyss Island. I’ll end this nightmare he put you in with my own hands.”
Huang’er started. “Are you going to challenge Xiahou Zong, Brother Chen?”
“I don’t need to challenge him to eliminate him,” he responded in a dark tone. “I’m not stupid. I won’t attack House Xiahou head on before I attain the power to dominate them.”
“Your martial dao potential is higher than his, Brother Chen. If all other factors were equal, he wouldn’t be able to rival you in power. But he was born into the Xiaohou family, spoon-fed with the best resources and care. That’s why his cultivation is...”
“Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, Huang’er. Be honest with me. I have to gain a comprehensive understanding of House Xiahou.”
That made Huang’er wonder. “I’ve never spoken about Xiaohou Zong, Brother Chen. Did Yan Qingsang tell you about him?”
“Your cousin?” Jiang Chen smiled wryly. “He couldn’t be more opposed to me getting close to you. He’s unusually stubborn, that guy. He shoots me down everytime I brought you up. That guy sure is persistent.”
“Then how did you know about Xiahou Zong?” Huang’er was curious.
“I heard people talk about him after coming to Myriad Abyss Island. What’s more, his brother Xiahou Jing went to the human domain with his followers and caused a lot of damage. I wiped him out.”
“What? Did you say you wiped him out?”
Jiang Chen paused. “What’s wrong?”
“Xiaohou Zhing was one of the three great geniuses of his family. He ranked a little higher than Xiahou Xi, their representative to the festival this time. Though Xiahou Jing was a level below Xiahou Zong, he seemed unwilling to accept Xiahou Zong’s status in the family.”
“That’s right. His unwillingness to accept things was what prompted him to travel to the human domain in the first place. He and his followers established the Order of Wind and Cloud, leaving chaos in their wake. They almost left the human domain in shambles.”
Huang’er was shocked. “Did you kill him, Brother Chen?”
“I did. We would never have been able to come to a truce. I’ll finish what I started and kill every member of House Xiahou I encounter. If they fail to acknowledge their mistakes, I’ll erase the entire family from the Divine Abyss Continent one day.”
He meant what he said. As long as Xiahou Zong lived, Jiang Chen was destined to have a bitter feud with House Xiahou.
Huang’er knew he was doing it all for her.
“Xiahou Zong is one of the most remarkable geniuses among the younger generation in the Ten Divine Nations. I hear that he’s breaking through mid empyrean realm during his closed door cultivation.”
“Oh?” Jiang Chen’s eyes lit up. His curiosity was piqued. If Xiahou Zong had only been first level or second level empyrean, the genius wouldn’t have really been a threat. But Xiahou Zong had broken through mid empyrean at such a young age. Now that was surprising!
“Interesting.” Jiang Chen smiled lazily. “He actually is good enough to be my opponent.”
Huang’er was much more at ease upon seeing the relaxed expression on Jiang Chen’s face. He hadn’t lost his calm after knowing Xiahou Zong’s cultivation.
She knew her lover could triumph over people of higher realms, but she wanted him to be more cautious and take fewer risks on Myriad Abyss Island.
“He may not succeed in breaking through mid empyrean, Brother Chen. You, on the other hand, will certainly be able to reach empyrean in a couple years. The cultivation gap between you and him will become increasingly smaller. I believe that once you’re in the same realm, you’ll easily win a fight against him.”
“Haha, that’s only the first step. My ultimate goal is to destroy House Xiahou in order to eliminate any future threats and to rescue your parents.”
Warmth bloomed in Huang’er’s heart.
Jiang Chen had never forgotten about her parents. A man’s love for a woman could be seen in not only his care for her, but also his attentiveness to everything she cared about.
Huang’er’s biggest weakness was her parents.
If he could rescue her parents from the Boundless Prison, there would be nothing tying her to House Yan. She’d only returned because she didn’t want her parents to suffer for her deeds. They had suffered enough already, she didn’t want to add to their burden.
“Alright, Huang’er. Xiahou Zong’s cultivation is progressing quickly. I can’t fall behind. I’ll be cultivating in here the next few days.”
Huang’er looked owlishly at him. “Didn’t you make a promise to Yan Qingsang, Brother Chen?”
“Haha, I have. But we have a month. I only need seven or eight days to locate the ores.”
“Do you really have the means to detect ancient jade, Brother Chen?”
“Yes. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to gain Yan Qingsang’s unconditional trust. After the festival, I’ll find a way to earn enough trust so that he takes me back to House Yan. I’m willing to work for House Yan to stay by your side.”
“Brother Chen...” Huang’er was deeply moved. She knew Jiang Chen was a proud man. It was against his nature to be ordered around by her family.
“I can’t rest unless I’m by your side, Huang’er. What’s more, if one day House Xiahou suddenly comes to take you away, I’ll be able to break you out. Even if I have to turn Eternal Divine Nation upside down, I will never let you become Xiahou Zong’s cultivation vessel.” Jiang Chen was quite determined.