All was back to normal in the outside world by the time Bai Yunfei and Xiao Qi exited from the Core World into the real world. Neither of the two knew just how many people their little implosion of energy had brought to the courtyards the night before.
The first one to greet the two was Long Lan who came out from his room almost at the same exact time the two came out from the Core World. Impatiently, he asked, "Yunfei, Xiao Qi, have you two…advanced a stage?"
Xiao Qi nodded his head excitedly on top of Bai Yunfei's shoulder. "Obviously, hehe…I'm a mid-stage class seven now. Xiao Lan…you're always going to be one step behind me!"
The earlier part of Xiao Qi's statement excited Long Lan when he heard it, but the later half deflated that excitement with just about the same abruptness of a needle poking a balloon apart.
"I'm not a freak of nature like you. Your way of getting stronger is a cheat!"
"Hah! So what? I'm probably the only one in this world with this 'cheat', that just means I'm the king!" Xiao Qi crowed with obvious satisfaction in his 'superiority'.
Not in the mood to argue with the bird, Long Lan turned his attention to Bai Yunfei instead. "You and Xiao Qi's advancement yesterday night brought a lot of attention. I counted at least a dozen Soul Kings, and then…a single person had them all back away…"
"A single person? What do you mean by that?"
Bai Yunfei was intrigued by what Long Lan had said.
"He said the courtyard was too noisy and had them all go away…I recall hearing Tang Xinyun's grandfather calling him 'father'…" Long Lan had a bit of a fearful light in his eyes, "He was…strong…I could tell even if he only spoke a few words! Far stronger than anyone else, even my master!"
"Even stronger than Long Zhen?! Then…isn't that a Soul Emperor?! Tang Zhan's father would be….Tang Xinyun's great-grandfather then, the true patriarch of the Tang. If he was looking at what happened yesterday, then there's a chance he might've found out about the Core World…"
Bai Yunfei looked up at the sky as he pondered to himself. It was already noon. Now, he figured, would be as good of a time to go see how Tang Xinyun was doing as any other.
A loud trill from Xiao Qi interrupted Bai Yunfei from his thoughts then.
A streak of white light flew out from one of the nearby courtyards. A few equally happy trills came out from the white streak of light as well.
Bai Yunfei was slightly surprised at first, but he was quick to realize what was going on. A moment after, a faint-blue streak of light came out from the same courtyard.
It was Tang Xinyun.
"Xinyun! You're up?!"
Bai Yunfei cried happily as he drew closer to her.
"Ah, yes. Earlier this morning. They said you were training, so I decided to wait for you here." Tang Xinyun nodded her head. She looked a little haggard still, but was otherwise overjoyed to see Bai Yunfei.
"How do you feel? Do you feel off anywhere?" Bai Yunfei asked, concerned for Tang Xinyun's wellbeing. He was already leading Tang Xinyun by hand to a nearby table to sit down.
"I'm fine, nothing to worry about. I just need to rest for a few days more." The corners to her lips curled upwards and her cheeks flushed a slight red hue, but she never pulled her hand away from Bai Yunfei's.
"Yunfei, let me into the Core World. I'd like to train in there."
Long Lan's voice spoke out to Bai Yunfei. Something Xiao Qi said earlier must've struck a nerve in Long Lan, as he looked far more determined than usually to train.
He was also, of course, not so willing to stick around and disturb Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun during their time alone.
"Ah, alright. There's a lot of primal stones in here, use as much as you'd like." Bai Yunfei handed a space ring over to Long Lan. In the ring contained a multitude of primal stones and even the soulgems of the three class seven soulbeasts killed a while ago. Surely, Long Lan would experience a great deal of strength if he were to take in their energy.
Taking the ring, Long Lan nodded once to Bai Yunfei before he disappeared away from sight.
"Ah—Yunfei, where…" Tang Xinyun gave a start at the sight.
He smiled. "He's gone into the Core World in here." Unhooking the Core World from around his neck, Bai Yunfei let Tang Xinyun take a look at it.
"In here? Core World?"
The smile Bai Yunfei had on his face deepened. The hand he had still holding onto Tang Xinyun's hand tightened. "Here, don't fight this. You'll know when you go in it."
"What are y—"
A strange bubble of energy wrapped around her person before she could finish her sentence. Then the next thing she knew, the entire world had gone into a blur…
Some time later, there was another small flash of light as Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun reappeared by the stone table in the real world.
There was a faint smile on Bai Yunfei's face and a shocked look on Tang Xinyun's. She looked as though she had just experienced something she couldn't comprehend. "The…Core Stone? The Core World? When…when did you get a powerful Regalia like this?"
"Hehe, it's something I picked up while in the Southward River Province…" Bai Yunfei replied. Starting from when they first parted at Formagua City, Bai Yunfei retold his tale to Tang Xinyun bit by bit. There was nothing he wanted to hide, and nothing he was willing to hide from her.
Tang Xinyun was enthralled by his story. Even when Bai Yunfei told her of what happened the night before, she looked practically spellbound by everything.
"Yunfei…you're really too rash. How could you undo the Realm Accretion seal like that? It would have let you become a Late-stage Soul King, and now the chance is gone…"
The very first thing she said to Bai Yunfei was to rebuke him on undoing the seal. But there was a grateful light in her eyes even as she did.
"What good was the chance given the circumstances? I'd never feel at ease if I tried to run away." Bai Yunfei laughed at first, but his eyes gained a steel edge to them. "Anyone that hurts you will have to pay for it! It's a shame that Mo Ni managed to escape. I won't let him get away the next time we meet!"
Seeing that Tang Xinyun still looked unconvinced, Bai Yunfei gave her a reassuring smile. "Actually, it's not really all that bad. Look here; I may have undone the seal, but look at how many Soul Kings I killed and all the soul armaments and soul skills I got. Xiao Qi was able to become a mid-stage class seven soulbeast, and I was able to become a Mid-stage Soul King. If anything, I'd like to think I came out on top, all things considered!"
He blinked once, as if suddenly remembering something. "That reminds me, this is for you, Xinyun."
He shook his right hand once to take out a small gold tile into his hand.
"This is…" Tang Xinyun took the item into her hand, confused by what she was holding.
"It's one of the 'spoils' I got. A defensive-type soul armament that I managed to upgrade to being as strong as a high-heaven tier. It can create a very strong barrier. You should be safe whenever you use it." Bai Yunfei told her.
"A high-heaven tier defensive-type soul armament?!" Tang Xinyun cried out with a re-evaluating eye onto the golden tile in her hand.
As if knowing what she was thinking about, Bai Yunfei replied, "If you're thinking if I'm the one that needs it, then stop. I've a lot of them already. Take the gold tile, It'll make me feel better."
"Ah…" The staunch look of determination in Bai Yunfei's eyes convinced her. Nodding her head, she took the golden tile and stored it away.
"Yunfei, I heard aunty Zhao say that you helped cure mother again…I…really, thank you…"
For a while, nothing was spoken before Tang Xinyun began to thank him in earnest.
"Haha, don't be silly, what's the point thanking me for?" Bai Yunfei laughed. "She's your mother, so of course she'd be close to me too. Doing things like this should be expected, not something to be thanked over."
A teary sheen of mist covered Tang Xinyun's eyes. Her hands held Bai Yunfei's hands tightly—though she was unaware of it—and her head bent slightly towards the side to rest on his shoulder.
Nothing was said between them, the two preferring to listen to each other's heartbeats rather than their voices.
In Bai Yunfei's mind, the thoughts of what he was having before he came here resurfaced in his mind. Thoughts about pitching his idea of marriage with Tang Xinyun to her father.
"Xinyun, I think I heard something about your father having some business today? Where has he gone? And when will he be back?"
He asked gently. Once Tang Qianlei returned and auntie Xue was fully cured, Bai Yunfei was prepared to formally ask for permission.
Tang Xinyun's person trembled a bit the moment when he asked about her father. Sensing something was off, he turned his head towards her. "What's wrong?"
She stood up. There was a strange look on her face, as if she was hesitating about something.
Gathering up what courage she had in her, she spoke.
"Yunfei, there's…something I've been keeping from you…"
"Keeping from me?" Bai Yunfei looked surprised. "What is it?"