Ye Di turned to Bu Liuqing with a smile . "Elder Bu, I'll take my leave . Our time ahead is long; we shall meet again . "
Bu Liuqing huffed, "Get lost!"
"Wait!" Chu Yang slowly got to his feet . He asked solemnly, "Who was the one who killed Ling Hanwu? Step forward!"
An elderly man dressed in robes of black snorted heavily and came up to him, his mannerisms haughty and arrogant . He said, "I'm the one who killed him . My name is Ye Se! What, are you intending to avenge him?"
Chu Yang looked at him coldly . "Ye Se! Not bad, not bad . And the one who injured my Teacher and his wife?"
"That's also me . " Ye Se scoffed derisively, "He was so weak that it was laughable . It was just a palm strike with only one-tenth of my power and he couldn't even withstand it . And he dares to speak of 'taking revenge with his own hands'?"
"What a foul mouth this man has!" Chu Yang remarked with indifference .
"Then I'll cleanse it for him!" Bu Liuqing snorted and there was a flash in movement . The next moment, loud smacking sounds could be heard and that fellow had already suffered more than ten slaps on the face, tumbling out a fair distance .
Blood trickled down the corners of his mouth .
"We won't take any lives today . " Chu Yang continued, "Ye Se, you belong to my Teacher . Live well and don't die too soon! Because that would be too disappointing!"
A disheveled Ye Se laid on the ground weakly as he glared madly at Chu Yang . "With the likes of Meng Geyin? Take my life? Dream on, Chu Yang!"
"Whether it's a dream or not, you'll find out in the future," replied Chu Yang icily, "But do take care of yourself! And be well!"
With a loud snort, Ye Di disappeared into a thick mist of night fog .
The people of the Ye Clan also retreated, as if the receding tide .
"You really shouldn't have promised your Teacher to let him take revenge by himself . " Bu Liuqing walked over to Chu Yang, shaking his head and sighing . "When will that ever be?"
Chu Yang replied impassively, "If my Teacher says that he will take revenge with his own hands, then he will definitely achieve it! And I will help him to complete this wish of his, no matter what!"
"I also wish that I could borrow Elder Bu's strength and wipe out all of them… but that wouldn't be good enough . If revenge is not taken with your own hands, it would always feel incomplete!" Chu Yang went on in a soft voice, "Revenge must be taken with one's own hands, and hatred repaid in person! Kindness and hatred must be repaid in kind, that is the way of men . "
Bu Liuqing sighed once more . "If everybody wishes to take revenge with their own hands…"
"To do that, one needs to have the power and ability!" Chu Yang said calmly, "And my Teacher does!" A mad flame seemed to be burning in his eyes, and in his heart, a voice echoed resolutely . "Even if he doesn't, I will make sure he does!"
From now on, their feud with the Nine Super Clans would never end till either of them perished!
Bu Liuqing was at a loss for words . He could only say, "Let's go back . "
Without another word, Chu Yang bent over and hoisted Ling Hanwu's body in his arms . Ye Shiyu and his men carried Meng Chaoran and Ye Chuchen back to Chu Yang's Orchard Palace . Ye Shiyu did not speak a word the entire journey there .
When they reached the Orchard Palace and left Meng Chaoran and Ye Chuchen there, when Ye Shiyu was about to leave, he looked toward Chu Yang, seeming like he wanted to say something to him .
However, Chu Yang did not spare him a glance .
Ye Shiyu ultimately let out a long sigh and left .
Although they admired and appreciated each other somewhat and his aunt was right there, they were enemies after all .
And after today, they would not rest till one of them was dead!
Anything he could say was unnecessary .
Chu Yang got right down to business and started to treat Meng Chaoran and Ye Chuchen's injuries . Meng Chaoran's spine was broken, his legs fractured, his knees shattered, and four of his rib bones were broken, one of them possibly puncturing his organs . His organs were ruptured too but the most serious injury was to the head . His head had suffered a devastating blow from the wind impact of the Supreme Martial Artist's palm strike . Although it had only grazed the side of his head, it dealt a grievous blow to Meng Chaoran .
He practically only had his last breath left in him!
If not for that incomplete version of the Nine Tribulations Pill, he would probably be dead by now!
On the other side, because Ye Chuchen had taken the brunt of the palm strike for Meng Chaoran, her injuries were even more serious .
Ling Hanwu's corpse laid quietly in the hall of the Orchard Palace .
When Zi Xieqing and the Feng and Yue couple returned, all of them got a huge shock . No one expected such a tragedy to happen during their brief time out .
Only when it reached midnight did Meng Chaoran regain a bit of consciousness and open his eyes .
"Hanwu…?" Meng Chaoran looked at Chu Yang .
" . . . " Chu Yang looked away .
"Chuchu…?" Meng Chaoran's voice was very soft .
"She's still unconscious . " Chu Yang comforted him . "She will be fine, I promise . "
Scalding tears ran down Meng Chaoran's cheeks . He stared blankly at the ceiling above him, letting out a long sigh .
"He asked me to avenge him with my own hands… This is Hanwu's final wish!" Meng Chaoran said feebly, "Those men are mine . "
"Yes, yours!" Chu Yang nodded, his voice soft as he comforted him .
"However, their target this time was you . " Meng Chaoran looked at Chu Yang . "You must be careful . "
Chu Yang's expression was grave as he nodded .
They were after him after all!
"I'm so tired, let me rest . " A familiar big-hearted smile appeared on Meng Chaoran's face . He said, "I'll go and drink with Hanwu in my dreams now . "
Chu Yang's heart was filled with sorrow as he watched Meng Chaoran fall into deep sleep .
The Ling Clan came to collect Ling Hanwu's body the next day . Apparently, Ling Fengyun and Ye Di had a huge falling-out . It was to the extent that they almost exchanged blows . In the end, the two of them parted on bad terms .
The person who came was Ling Hanxue .
Ling Hanxue's eyes were red and puffy; it was obvious that Ling Hanwu's death was an extremely huge blow to her . Before she left, she looked at Chu Yang and said, "Second Uncle is gone just like that… Even though he died a worthy death for the love of his life, the root of the cause, however, is you . "
"Second Uncle had been living a weary life all these years, so death is also a kind of release for him . Although the people he left behind are bereaved, at least he has finally found peace . "
"Therefore, I will give you a piece of advice! Be careful during the Medicine Banquet of Tianji City!"
Ling Hanxue's voice was soft .
Chu Yang was silent for a moment before he replied, "I am much obliged . "
"After I bring Second Uncle back today, I will bring a few other people with me and return to Lingxiao City tomorrow to send Second Uncle on his final journey . Our next meeting is indefinite, do take care . "
"From now on, the Nine Super Clans and you, Chu Yang, will not rest until one of us is dead! If we take up arms against each other in the future, should you be able to take my life, do not show any mercy!"
After she finished, Ling Hanxue walked out with the rest of the attendants .
When she reached the door, she suddenly halted her steps . "Second Uncle's sword is named 'Dancing Alone in the Cold' . He said that his name had destined him to be alone forever . "
After a slight pause, she went on, "Tell your Teacher to cherish the sword . "
And Ling Hanxue left .
She brought along with her Ling Hanwu's body .
Although Meng Chaoran was rather reluctant to part, Ling Hanwu was part of the Ling Clan after all . Being buried in the family ancestral cemetery could be considered returning to his origin too . He could only watch as Ling Hanxue left with Ling Hanwu's body, sighing as he murmured, "Hanwu, from now on, us brothers can only drink together in our dreams . "
Three days later, Meng Chaoran could already sit up . However, Ye Chuchen remained in a comatose state .
Regarding this, even Chu Yang was puzzled . Under the effect of the incomplete version of the Nine Tribulations Pill, her life should not be in danger anymore, nor should this coma be happening . Why was this happening?
Zi Xieqing answered this question for him — In Ye Chuchen's subconsciousness, she had already thought of herself as dead, and that she had died together with her lover and her close friend . This sort of death was something that Ye Chuchen wished for .
A blissful death!
Therefore, despite the fact that her body was healthy, her subconsciousness had sunk into a state of 'pretend death' .
It was unknown how long this condition would last but… as long as she herself did not realize that she was actually 'still alive', then she would never come to!
Toward this situation, neither Zi Xieqing nor Chu Yang could do anything .
Meng Chaoran, however, was optimistic . "It's fine, she'll be alright with me by her side taking care of her . She will eventually regain consciousness one day . If she were to awake now, she'll be forced to accept this cruel reality… so this may be for the better . You can leave her to me and return to your own matters… Even if she doesn't ever wake up… at least we are together now . "
Meng Chaoran gazed at Ye Chuchen who was lying quietly by his side, his eyes full of tenderness and affection .
Zi Xieqing and Chu Yang remained silent .
Neither Zi Xieqing nor Chu Yang could really comprehend Meng Chaoran's feelings toward Ye Chuchen, because there were simply too many complications involved .
The two of them were childhood friends… Ye Chuchen's clan wiped out Meng Chaoran's entire clan… The two of them fell deeply in love with each other… Ling Hanwu's unrequited love… Ye Chuchen, on the brink of death, threw away all her reservations and married Meng Chaoran…
Ling Hanwu's death .
Ye Chuchen's coma .
Meng Chaoran grieved over the deceased and took care of the injured for two reasons — revenge and love .
When Ye Chuchen regained consciousness in the future, would this become a thorn in her heart? How did the current Meng Chaoran feel about that?
Even someone with a clever and nimble mind like Chu Yang couldn't tell .
Everything was too complex, just like strands of silk entangled with each other, impossible to unravel…
On the fifth day .
Meng Chaoran could already stand and get around . Other than his three meals a day and the time he spent meticulously taking care of Ye Chuchen, he spent all the remaining time practicing martial arts and cultivating . What was astounding was that even after taking into account Chu Yang's countless panaceas and elixirs as a backing, Meng Chaoran's advancement in cultivation was still a huge revelation to Zi Xieqing!
It wasn't only because Meng Chaoran's cultivation was advancing by leaps and bounds . If it had been just that, it wouldn't have shocked her that much .
The key point was that when Meng Chaoran took care of Ye Chuchen, his entire mind would be focused on taking care of her; and when he was cultivating, his entire mind would be focused on cultivating!
When he was taking care of Ye Chuchen, it was as if his world only consisted of her alone . And when he was cultivating, his world only consisted of cultivation!
His focus and level of concentration were absolutely single-minded! The moment he went into meditation, he would delve immediately into the deepest level of mental cultivation, completely undistracted by any other matter .
His day only comprised of four tasks — taking care of Ye Chuchen, cultivation, eating, and spending an hour every evening drinking by himself with Ling Hanwu's cup opposite him, as though he were drinking with his brother . With one of them in the mortal world and the other in the underworld, every time he drank a cup of wine, he would pour the cup of wine opposite him on the floor . This went on endlessly .
Meng Chaoran would drink till his spirits were high and enthusiastic . Sometimes, he drank until he was smacking his thigh in joyous laughter . Sometimes, he drank until tears fell from his eyes silently, mournful and despondent .
He behaved with his usual big-hearted and calm demeanor, as if his buddy was truly exchanging endless cups of wine with him and talking to each other heart to heart! He poured his heart out with no reservations as 'they' talked about anything under the sun!
Even the current Chu Yang could not have imagined that this habit of Meng Chaoran, where he would drink with the imaginary Ling Hanwu every evening, would continue into the long and meandering years to come!
Up till his final moments, he still exchanged a cup of wine with Ling Hanwu as he said, "My brother, I'm here . Won't you come and receive me?"
Only then did he close his eyes and rest in peace .
By then, it was already tens of thousands of years later…A ritualistic offering in memory of the dead