Tie Bu Tian looked around. The flames were still ablaze in the surroundings. He said, "In my entire life... since infancy… I've never truly enjoyed myself. A heavy burden had come upon my shoulders after Imperial Father had sustained injuries. I never got a chance to get any joy. I've never had a friend or a lover. I was even more unlikely to fall in love with someone… I've never known the feeling of deep love; the feeling of having a lover.
"I've been lonely since my birth. Other girls can cherish the beauty of flowers and plants. They can be happy and sad whenever they wish. They can have as much fun as they want in their inner chambers. But, I can't even think about all this. I have the blood of the Tie Clan. I was destined to walk the ruthless path of the Emperor from the very beginning. This is my duty as the sole offspring of Imperial Father. I can't shirk my duty. But, who would've thought that the task of becoming the ruler of the world would fall into the hands of an ordinary girl… like me.
"I also have a dream. Other people's dreams have a chance of coming true. But, my dream will never come true. It could never come true. There's so much pressure on me. I also want to have a shoulder to rely on. I also want to burst into tears in someone's embrace. But, all I'm allowed to do is maintain this fearless stance. I must face all these cruelties and challenges with cold indifference. Yes, this is my responsibility. But..."
Suddenly, tears came streaming down Tie Bu Tian's face, "... but... all of this was imposed on me. A young girl like me was made to face such hardships. I've to keep this secret hidden… and there's no end to it. I'll have to keep this secret hidden forever; no matter what sort of hopeless situation I might face in the future. I have no choice but to keep my youthful beauty hidden under a mask… until I get old and wither away... Don't you think… it's too cruel?
"Don't you think that's way too cruel?!"
Tie Bu Tian spoke in a hissing tone.
The two shadows sighed, but remained silent.
"But, I want to save him today. I'm willing to pay any cost to save him. I'll do anything for him. I don't want any repayment for doing this. I'll consider it to be a short lived illusion. After all, an illusion doesn't leave any traces behind.
"I'm being willful this time... just this time!" Tie Bu Tian muttered to himself, "I only hope that you'll never tell him about this. He must never find out.
"This is my decision… and this has to be my matter alone."
Two drops of tears could be seen hanging from his face in the light of flames.
"It's such a pity that your Icy Heart Jade Bone Saintly Technique was about to move a step further..." A shadow looked-up to the sky and sighed deeply, "Your Master had said that... she'll come to take you away once that happens..."
"Hehe... by the time she comes..." Tie Bu Tian appeared to be in a daze as he looked at the burning forest in the dark night. He said, "... it'll already be gone..."
Then he laughed, "Don't you think that this burning mountain-forest is better than the world's most beautiful candlelight?" A trace of shyness flashed in his eyes along with a trace of sweet-happiness...
He was perhaps thinking of what he would never get in this life - a pair of red candles in the beautiful bridal chamber on the wedding night. His vision seemed blurry and full of agony. However, his eyes were full of a sweet fantasy...
Chu Yang woke-up and realized that his entire body was aching. However, he felt an indescribable pleasure 'down there'. He immediately sat-up.
He could only sit-up half-way even after he had exhausted his entire physical strength. Suddenly, he realized that his body was rocking. [It feels as if... I'm in a carriage…]
[Is this the carriage of Iron Cloud or Great Zhao?]
Chu Yang was puzzled. Then, he looked at the soft bedding under his body. It was covered with soft cotton-wadded quilts. He immediately understood, [I wouldn't be getting such nice treatment if Great Zhao had caught me.]
"You woke up?" a dignified and majestic voice sounded from outside.
The curtains rose and Tie Bu Tian floated-in.
An ordinary person would have to take a step to jump-up into the carriage. But, Tie Bu Tian had the martial arts foundation of an Emperor. So, he could use weight lightening technique to float-up.
[Why are you showing-off in front of me?] Chu Yang couldn't help but feel like laughing. Then, he asked in a feeble voice. "How are you here?"
Tie Bu Tian's complexion sank and turned pale. He looked extremely tired. He knitted his eyebrows. There was a trace of anguish on his forehead. But, he spoke in an indifferent tone, "Why I'm here is none of your business. I'm the one asking questions here. You've been sleeping for an entire day and night. How do you feel right now?"
Chu Yang was startled.
[What's up… with this aloof and detached tone? Moreover, there's such repelling indifference in his voice.] Chu Yang was perplexed. He raised his head to look straight at Tie Bu Tian, and asked in a surprised manner, "What's wrong with you?"
"There has been a great pressure on me in the recent times." Tie Bu Tian and Chu Yang looked at each other for a while. There wasn't a single trace of emotion in Tie Bu Tian's eyes. He started to look in the other direction and said, "The flames of war have been lit. Great Zhao's massive army has assembled at the border. Fortunately, you've returned in time. Now, I can share my worries and difficulties with you."
Chu Yang looked at Tie Bu Tian. He felt that there was something wrong with him.
[He seems to be deliberately putting distance between us.]
[What in the world happened when I wasn't around?]
Chu Yang thought for a while, "I'm afraid I may not be of much use… considering my limited abilities. Moreover, I just had a narrow escape for the sake of Iron Cloud… and yet the Emperor of Iron cloud is being cold and indifferent towards me," Chu Yang spoke in a cold tone.
"Minister Chu..." Tie Bu Tian glanced at him, and then quickly looked away. He said, "But Minister Chu will help me nonetheless, right?"
Suddenly, Chu Yang started to feel oppressed and suffocated. He chuckled and said, "Of course… I will. When I promise something… I do it; no matter what."
Then, he closed his eyes as an indication that he didn't wish to discuss this topic anymore.
Was there anything unusual about an Emperor acting high and mighty? Tie Bu Tian obviously couldn't bow down before him. It was impossible.
Chu Yang's arrogance rarely surfaced. But, the pride rooted in his bones couldn't be rivaled in this world. Tie Bu Tian's cold and indifferent demeanor was an indication that he would never stick his hot face into people's cold buttocks to please them.
"That's fine." Tie Bu Tian nodded and smiled. His vision swept around and got fixed on Chu Yang's face. It seemed as if he wanted to say something, but didn't say it. He then stated in an indifferent manner, "You only focus on recuperating."
He couldn't stop himself from coughing several times. His eyebrows wrinkled tightly. The pained expression on his face became more and more obvious. He seemed to be enduring enormous pain.
However, Chu Yang didn't see it since his eyes were closed.
Suddenly, Tie Bu Tian jumped onto the carriage that was moving next to this one. There was a sound of curtains being raised as Tie Bu Tian went inside the other carriage.
There were two carriages.
Chu Yang snorted in his heart, [This Emperor - His Majesty's arrogance is getting bigger and bigger. I saw the mighty force that had arrived to rescue me. But, he was riding in his carriage even during such an emergency...]
[It must've been really comfortable… huh.]
[Sure enough… the temperament of a person changes after they become an Emperor. Is the diligent Prince Bu Tian gone forever?]
Chu Yang was overcome with boredom as this thought crossed his mind.
[I would've walked away from here if it wasn't to reverse the fate and save Qing Wu.]
[Once the war ends… and Diwu Qing Rou gets defeated… I - Chu Yang - won't stay here for a single day.]
The carriage was moving slowly. The road seemed to be getting harder to travel on. Chu Yang felt that the surroundings had quieted down a little. He could hear no other sound besides the sound of Tie Bu Tian's carriage beside his…
Chu Yang controlled his breathing and checked upon his injuries. He recalled that world-shaking final attack. It had left him traumatized. He couldn't believe that… he had managed to come out alive from such an attack.
He called the Sword Spirit a few times. However, he got no response.
It was true that Chu Yang had unleashed an unprecedented power at the end, and had ended up killing nearly three-hundred people in one fell swoop. However, the enemy knew that this was going to be their last chance. Therefore, they had gone all-out in that final attempt. More than two-thousand people had surrounded him from all directions, and had bombarded him with multiple strong attacks in unison.
How could Chu Yang resist such an attack on his own? This was a head-on attack which demanded 'tackling force with force'. There was no room for leeway.
Chu Yang's body was on the verge of being turned into a mass of minced meat at the last moment. That was when the Sword Spirit was finally unable to control himself, and took over Chu Yang's body. He used-up all his spiritual power to shield Chu Yang's body from the fatal attacks.
However, the Sword Spirit had fallen into deep sleep since he had exhausted his power. But, Chu Yang had fallen unconscious by then. So, the Sword Spirit didn't get time to inform him about this.
The Sword Spirit knew that Chu Yang's body was in need of urgent treatment. He was secretly worried for Chu Yang. However, he was helpless. Moreover, he would've been of no help even if he were conscious...
Chu Yang and the Sword Spirit had lost consciousness at the same time. They could only resign themselves to fate.
Chu Yang examined his internal injuries. He found out that his arteries and veins were completely damaged. He smiled bitterly, and summoned the Nine Tribulations Sword. Then, he took out an incomplete version of the Nine Tribulations Pill and popped it.
This pill didn't have the same quality as the full version of Nine Tribulations Pill since that was made out of the Mysterious ice Jade Paste. However, it was a first-class healing medicine. Anyway, Chu Yang's injury was within the scope of treatment even though it looked serious.
Half-an-hour had passed since Chu Yang had taken the pill. He noticed that his strength was slowly recovering, and his internal injury was gradually healing.
An hour passed. Now, he could move freely. He sat-up straight and breathed a few times. He felt as if his entire body was at ease. In fact, he felt as if he could float about as he wished. He had a strong desire to fly. It felt as if the binding chains had suddenly snapped. This perplexed him.
He tried to raise his energy, and was startled. He opened his eyes wide in a stare, [When did my spiritual power break through the bottleneck? I've reached the first grade of King Level.]
[First Grade Sword King!]
[What... what's going on? How can I make a breakthrough in an injured state?]
[Can it be that Tie Bu Tian gave me some kind of a Heavenly treasure?]