Pu Ban City, behind the Town Hall, in a sparse patch of woods, Emperor Shun sat on the ground with a wooden Chinese zither on his knees. Flicking the strings with his fingers, he played a beautiful melody which spread along a gentle gust of wind.
A faint cloud floated above the woods, and a drizzle was falling, wetting Emperor Shun's shirt which was made from a coarse cloth. Emperor Shun played the zither with a faint smile, without being affected by the drizzle at all.
Wulong Yao sat under a tree in front of Emperor Shun, clapping his hands rhythmically and slowly shaking his head while listening to the music. A while later, he abruptly opened his eyes and asked with a deep voice, "Aren't you really worrying about what's happening in Liang Zhu?"
Emperor Shun stopped playing the zither. Opening his eyes, he looked at Wulong Yao and smiled relaxedly, then threw the question back, "What can happen? A fire rises at night, and people kill each other. Based on my knowledge about the non-humankind, perhaps, they have divided into two groups about whether to surrender to Blood Crown or not, and are trying to clean out each other."
Carefully putting the zither on a short table aside, Emperor Shun straightened his sleeves, then continued with a gentle voice, "It's good. The non-humankind consuming their own lives, it's good for human beings anyway. If all non-humankind beings in Liang Zhu City die in each others' hands, Si Wen Ming's job would be much easier in the future, and we can worry less."
"Don't you worry about that Blood Crown?" Wulong Yao narrowed his eyes, raised his head, and looked at the sky as he asked.
Emperor Shun gave Wulong Yao a warmer smile. Looking around, he shook his head and said, "If the non-humankind beings in Liang Zhu City call reinforcements from Pan Yu world, I will surely worry… I wouldn't even be able to sleep."
"But, if a powerful being who is able to threaten the lives of all human beings descends on Pan Gu world...what should I be worrying about? If we human beings cannot stop him, some other people will! They want to weaken us and control us, but they dare not to watch us truly fall."
Wulong Yao curved his lips downward, called Emperor Shun 'old fox' in his head, then smiled relaxedly as well.
Emperor Shun reached his hands to the roots of the tree and dragged out a pot of wine, throwing it to Wulong Yao. Then, with the other hand, he found another pot. Unplugging the pot, he took a few gulps of the wine.
Narrowing his eyes, Emperor Shun said slowly, "Once Si Wen Ming finishes his recent jobs, I shall abdicate. Hmm, I should do some preparation for him, regarding what he is supposed to know."
Letting out a long breath which had a strong aroma of wine, Emperor Shun chuckled, "It has been so many years. At times, I was even afraid that I may talk some secrets out in my sleep...It was quite exhausting."
Wulong Yao glanced at the north and frowned, then said in a deep voice, "Ji Hao took the troop to the north. I wonder how it went. Why did Si Wen Ming take part in a thing like this? He is the future emperor. For things like this..."
"But, Ji Hao is a divine emperor. They are united in a concerted effort, which is a fortune of our humankind. This time, Si Wen Ming wanted to go to Pan Heng world, and I gave him my permission." Emperor Shun interrupted Wulong Yao and grinned.
While chatting, they soon emptied the two potfuls of wine, without leaving a drop.
Apparently, Emperor Shun was in a good mood. He turned the pot upside down and gently patted the bottom of the pot with his palm. Along with the muffled beat, he sang a happy folk song, his face blushed and voice strong and sonorous. Even the thin cloud in the sky was dispelled by his voice, and the drizzle had stopped.
Wulong Yao looked at Emperor Shun. When Emperor Shun finished the song, he asked a serious question, "So, what happens after the abdication? What do you prepare to do? Will you follow behind the former emperors and step into the Chaos? Or...Will you seal yourself in a natural star? You know it, if..."
"Don't!" Emperor Shun pointed at Wulong Yao and said with his gentle yet strong voice, "There are some things we can do, but can't talk about. Elder Wulong, are you drunk?"
Wulong Yao quivered instantly, then smiled and nodded, "Yeah, a little bit. I see, the little tricks played by the few old ones are indeed useful. For what shouldn't be talked about, why don't we simply seal them with the magic we know? Once the forbidden words come out of our mouths, our souls will perish. I think this is an appropriate way to keep a secret."
Emperor Shun smiled. Gazing at the sky, he murmured, "Emperor Xuanyuan said I am a conservator, too kind and generous, that if I step into the Chaos, my life would be risked. In this case, I prepare to spend a few years to travel across Pan Gu Motherland, to appreciate the beauty of this world, then seal myself in the natural star."
Wulong Yao remained silent for a while, then slowly nodded.
'Sealing myself in the natural star', this sounded so easy, but meant countless years of loneliness, emptiness, and self-imprisonment. Perhaps, one day, Emperor Shun would have a chance to come out of the star, or that day might never come.
Wulong Yao looked at Emperor Shun in a complicated way. He had met many powerful, incredible people, who were his old friends. But, they didn't leave a mark on the historical records of the humankind, not even a name, before they disappeared so silently.
"The heart of nature is unpredictable." Wulong Yao gave a long sigh.
"The heart of nature is the kindest heart in the world. The ones hard to predict are the hearts of human beings." Emperor Shun smilingly threw the empty wine pot into Wulong Yao's arms and said, "Elder Wulong, you need to understand..."
Before he finished, both he and Wulong Yao turned to the Town Hall. From the back door of the Town Hall, scorching hot streams of power could be sensed. Earlier, the ground was wetted by the drizzle, and now, clouds of steam had been rising.
The mist was soon gone, while the plants in the woods began withering and dying.
A few small trees began burning.
"Zhu Rong, Great Libation, what happened? Did someone offend you?" Emperor's blushed face quickly turned back to a normal color. He straightened his waist and seriously looked at Zhu Rong, who walked out of the Town Hall, step by step.
Surrounded by a fire, Zhu Rong smilingly shook his head and said, "No, Emperor Shun, no one is offending me. I have a precious treasure here. I want you...and Elder Wulong, to take a look at it."
Zhu Rong raised his hand. The tiny brain-shaped piece made from Pan Yu's brain slowly flew out of his hand, glowing dimly. An irresistible soul power covered the entire woods. The expressions of Emperor Shun and Wulong Yao changed immediately. They both leaped up from the ground, their eyes burning with anger.
But before long, the fire of anger dimmed down in their eyes. As same as Zhu Rong, a strange light emerged in Emperor Shun's eyes.
Emperor Shun gave a despairing sigh, but then, he laughed, as if he was taking pleasure in some other people's misfortune. "I'm giving up the throne. Facing such a great power...You, who love to hide behind the legends...should make a move, right?"
"Oh? I look forward to the ones you mentioned to show up." Yu Huo showed up in front of Emperor Shun and chuckled, "But before that, you shall leave the highest power of the humankind to me."