It took Xiao Chen a long time before he sensed that he had fallen to the ground. He was surprised to find himself unscathed, only a little weak due to the great loss of his True Energy. Recalling the tense moments earlier, he recalled that the girl seemed to have broken the formation. He turned his head and finally got a clear look at the girl's appearance.
Her eyebrows resembled the willows in March and her pupils were like pools of limpid autumn waters. Tied around her waist was a light green ribbon with two tiny golden bells. She looked just like the incarnation of an ancient immortal.
For a time, Xiao Chen couldn't snap out of his senses. He muttered, "Far away on the hill of Gu Ye there dwelt a deity-like person whose flesh and skin are as smooth as ice and as white as snow; her manner is elegant and delicate as that of a virgin; she doesn't eat any of the five grains..."
The girl looked at him with a big pair of eyes. "Elder Brother, what are you talking about? My name is Murong Xian'er. What about you?"
"Murong Xian'er... What a beautiful name." Xiao Chen was still somewhat spellbound.
"Hehe. Xian'er thinks it's beautiful as well. Unfortunately, I can't remember who gave me the name. Oh right! Elder Brother, you haven't told me your name."
Only then did Xiao Chen recovered his senses. He cupped his hands in greeting. "Please apologize for my lack of manners. I'm Xiao Chen of the Mystic Cyan Sect. Nice to meet you, Miss Murong. Thank you so much for your help earlier..."
The girl's big eyes blinked. She interrupted him to say, "Have you met me before? When? Where?"
Xiao Chen was stunned. This girl in front of him appeared very naive. "Why did you appear in this forest alone, Miss? Where are your parents?"
Murong Xian'er blinked. "Parents? Who are 'parents'?"
Xiao Chen couldn't help feeling dumbstruck. Could it be that she didn't even know who her parents were even after being born for so long? He continued to ask, "Where is your home?"
"Home?" Murong Xian'er mulled over it as she rubbed her chin. She then pointed to the white clouds in the sky. "There."
Xiao Chen shook his head with a smiled. She was indeed an innocent little girl. However, she was able to break open the prohibitive formation earlier...
"Hehe. Brother Xiao Chen, I'll take you to the bottom. There are many deers and bunnies down there." Murong Xian'er happily pulled him by the hand down a path. Tall grasses lined both sides of the path. It seemed that this path was formed after getting trampled.
"Wait a moment, Miss. Where are you taking me?"
"Hehe! Brother Xiao Chen, you'll find out later."
Half an hour later, Xiao Chen came to a bluish-green valley blanketed in flowers. Though it was late autumn in October, it seemed like it was March in the Human World. The flowers bloomed as brightly as if they were embroidery on brocades and the grass grew long and wild.
There were many fruit trees near him that he had never seen before. There were also many strange fruits of bright red and orange on the trees. Butterflies flitted around the flowers that grew in abundance under the trees.
In the distance, he saw a bluish-green lake that seemed to be filled with many ambers as well as a herd of multi-colored deers drinking water beside it. This place was actually a paradise.
This wasn't a superficial paradise but a real one. Xiao Chen could tell from the rich Spiritual Qi here. The Spiritual Qi existed in such abundance that it could even rival the Immortal Century from thousands of years ago. Compared to this place, the Spiritual Qi of Lingtai Mountain was basically negligible.
"Hehe! Brother Xiao Chen, don't you think this place is beautiful?"
Xiao Chen nodded woodenly. "It's beautiful..."
He couldn't have expected that such a place would exist under Lingtai Mountain. It was surrounded by mountains and was enveloped in a prohibitive formation. It seemed that no one was allowed in while preventing the leaking of its Spiritual Qi. But why would there be such abundant Spiritual Qi here?
"Then can you not leave, Brother Xiao Chen? Xian'er lives here alone. No one talks to me..."
Xiao Chen looked at her in a daze, surprised that she actually lived alone. This was simply unbelievable.
Murong Xian'er giggled as she whispered into his ear. "You're the only one I'm telling this to, Brother Xiao Chen. There are people who want to capture me but they won't be able to find me once I run here. Hehe! Don't you think Xian'er is smart?"
Xiao Chen smiled. "Yes, you are..." He wondered about the identity of this girl.
"Then why don't I stay behind and accompany you from now on? That way, you don't have to be afraid when bad people come..."
Xiao Chen looked at the strange scenery around him and shook his head. "I'm sorry, Xian'er. I can only stay here for three months. I'll have to leave after three months..."
Though he wanted to stay in a place with such abundance Spiritual Qi for as long as he could and break into the Nascent Soul Realm, it was impossible. There were many things waiting for him to do out there. Moreover, he would be battling Mo Yu three months later. He must enter the Violet Manor.
In addition, he had a feeling that a catastrophe was awaiting the Three Pure Sect. He didn't feel comfortable leaving Lil Ruo and the others out there.
"Sob... Xian'er has been waiting for a long time. You just came here but are you leaving already, Brother Xiao Chen..."
Murong Xian'er's tears filled her eyes as she refused to let go of his arm. Xiao Chen couldn't help feeling heartache. Why? Why would she be so attached to him when they had just met for the first time?
And why would he have special feelings for her? These weren't feelings between a man and a woman. Rather, it was as if they had known each other thousands of years ago.
Time flew so quickly that it felt as if all it took for three months to pass was the snapping of one's fingers. There was neither spring, summer, autumn, nor winter in the Jade Valley. The flowers never wilted in here but outside, it was already snowing.
In the Moon-watch Pavilion, a white-clothed woman stood with her hands clasped behind her back as she stared in the direction of the back mountain, where Xiao Chen had flown down from on his flying sword.
The sound of someone stepping on snow suddenly came from behind her. It was Li Muxue. "Rest assured, Third Elder. He'll definitely come back."
In the past three months, the Three Pure Sect had sent many disciples to search for Xiao Chen. However, it was as if he had vanished into thin air. Most of the rumors were that he accidentally stepped into a prohibitive formation and had his body and soul destroyed.
The happiest ones were none other than Chu Hanyan and Mo Yu. Today, Mo Yu would be participating in the ceremony to enter the Violet Manor. The entire Three Pure Sect was boisterous with safflower hung under the beams of the roofs. The sound of firecrackers sent a shockwave through the sky as the beating of gongs reverberated in the air. It seemed that they had forgotten the other disciple who went to the bottom of the back mountain.
At this moment, Xiao Chen slowly opened his eyes in the Jade Valley. He was now in Lv 9 Qi Refining Realm. With such rich Spiritual Qi here, it wasn't that he couldn't break into the Foundation Building Realm. Rather, he had dissipated his cultivation three times according to the method Bai Ying taught him. He thought that consolidating his cultivation was much better than breaking into the Foundation Building Realm.
Today was finally the day for him to leave the valley.
Murong Xian'er, who was playing with a herd of multi-colored deers in the distance, ran over after hearing him yell. Xiao Chen gently stroked her hair with a smile. "Do you remember what day is it today?"
Murong Xian'er blinked with her large pair of eyes. Biting her fingers, she replied, "What day is it?"
Xiao Chen shook his head with a smile. "It's the day that we step out."
"Ah!" Murong Xian'er opened her mouth wide. "I would've completely forgotten about it if you don't bring it up, Brother Xiao Chen! Are you off to battle the bad guys?"
The two of them had gotten very close after all the time they spent together. Xiao Chen learned that she seemed to be experiencing amnesia and that she had no cultivation whatsoever. However, not even she could explain why she could easily break the prohibitive formation.
"Goodbye, little deers and little bunnies! I'll come back and see you all later..."
Xiao Chen chuckled as he watched Murong Xian'er wave at the group of small animals. He had decided to bring her out of this valley. Even though he had no idea if it was the right decision, he nevertheless made his decision. There seemed to be an inexplicable sentiment between him and Xian'er.
Before they left, he plucked many spiritual fruits and put them into his Divine Vessel. He was worried that Xian'er wouldn't eat the food of the common mortals after going outside.
They came to the same cliff they had fallen off of last time. This time, Xiao Chen could maneuver his flying sword without drawing support from the formation placed on the mountain gate as Murong Xian'er had broken the prohibitive formation. The two swiftly made it up the cliff.
Once he broke out, Xiao Chen felt like he had entered a different world. It was a little cold and the Spiritual Qi was basically negligible. He had gotten used to the nourishment of the rich Spiritual Qi in the valley. Thus, the Spiritual Qi outside was nothing to him. He also had no need to worry about his cultivation. No one under Lv 7 Foundation Building Realm would be able to defeat him.
Murong Xian'er jumped around excitedly along the way, acting like a fairy in the forest. When she saw the Three Immortal Leaves, she would pick them up and put them directly into her mouth.
Xiao Chen would've been surprised had it been three months ago. That was because the Three Immortal Leaves were a kind of medicinal herbs that could restore spiritual power. They were particularly effective. Most people who consume them directly would experience bleeding in their seven apertures and die within forty-five minutes.
However, Murong Xian'er looked fine no matter how much she ate. The leaves looked like they had no effect on her either. It seemed like she just purely loved the taste of it.
Chuckling, Xiao Chen wiped the mud off the corners of her mouth. They had casually picked up some Three Immortal Leaves along the way. Half an hour later, he detected people nearby and immediately pulled Murong Xian'er behind a big tree. He indicated for her to be quiet.
With his current cultivation, he could sense people around him even if they were far away. The footsteps gradually came close. From the sound of it, there were two people.
"It's already the groundbreaking ceremony today but Senior Brother Mo is still worried and made us search on such a cold day. That person is long dead. How can we find him?"
"Forget it. We can take a stroll and then go back."
Xiao Chen swept the two people with his Divine Sense. Judging by their clothing, they ought to be disciples of the Black Dragon Peak. Their conversation indicated that Mo Yu had sent them here to find him.
Xiao Chen suppressed the breath of his Lv 9 Qi Refining Realm cultivation with a chuckle. Then, he held Murong Xian'er's hand and walked out to met the two disciples. Their mouths fell open. For a long time, they couldn't find words.
"Xiao... Xiao... Junior Brother Xiao! You! You! You!"
Xiao Chen chuckled. "You don't have to be surprised, Senior Brothers. I left this place because I had something urgent to attend to and just came back today. Why are you two here?"
The two looked at each other and thought, "So he's still in Lv 7 Qi Refining Realm." One of them laughed and said, "In the past few days, the Elders had been sending people to find you, Junior Brother Xiao. We're glad that you come back unscathed." He was stunned when he noticed Murong Xian'er hiding beside him. What a beautiful little girl.
Xiao Chen smiled. "This is my younger sister."
Murong Xian'er tugged on his sleeve tightly and said timidly, "Brother Xiao Chen, are they bad people?"
Xiao Chen stroked her forehead and smiled softly. "They're my Senior Brothers. How can they be bad people?" He then smiled at the two men and said, "My younger sister is shy around people. Please forgive us for offending you, Senior Brothers."
"It's no problem. Junior Brother Xiao, let's go back now."
"Sure. Please lead the way, Senior Brothers."
On their way back, Xiao Chen observed the two people with his Divine Sense. The two of them kept exchanging looks. Undoubtedly, they bore him no good will.
Right then, both of them shared the same thoughts. "He's merely in Lv 7 Qi Refining Realm. With our Lv 8 cultivation, it's not impossible for us to kill him if we work together. He mustn't be allowed to return to the Three Pure Sect today..."
Thinking about this, one of them took the lead in attacking and thrust his sword without any warning. However, when the sword was three inches away from Xiao Chen's temple, it froze in the air. Seeing this, the other disciple stepped on his flying sword and struck Xiao Chen.
Everything happened in a split second. Murong Xian'er was so frightened that she screamed. With a sneer, Xiao Chen sent her to another place with a gentle force and then moved his fingers to cast a spell. With the clanging of metals, the two swords flying in the air snapped in half and fell to the ground.
"What?!" The two were so shocked that their faces turned pale. They turned around and began running. Xiao Chen yelled coldly, "Come back!"
Xiao Chen stretched out both of his arms and demonstrated the Substance Spell of the Mystic Cyan Sect in an instant. It was as if the two men were caught by a suction. They were caught by the space in the air after running a mere two or three feet away.