A three-meter-long, one-meter-wide whirlwind had suddenly formed and sent the nearby leaves flying about. Through the wind, Tang Xinyun could be seen staring at the great transformation that had occurred, but she had no idea what had caused such a reaction.
“Young miss!” Zhao Mancha cried out. A bright glow of light encompassed her body as she was just about to “save” her young charge.
“Aunty Zhao! Don’t interfere!”
Just as she was about to leap in, a warning shout came out from behind her. Bai Yunfei, Jing Mingfeng, and Tianming were quickly walking toward her.
“Why are you stopping me? The young miss is in danger!” Aunty Zhao was at a loss for why Bai Yunfei tried to stop him before trying once more to go into the whirlwind.
“It’s best if you don’t move just yet. Otherwise you’ll put miss Tang in even more danger!” Bai Yunfei knew that she was worried, so he asked, “Look carefully, is miss Tang really in any danger?”
“If I remember correctly, this is most likely…” Bai Yunfei moved to stop Zhao Mancha while studying Tang Xinyun in the middle of the whirlwind. There was a strange glint in his eyes as if he was looking at something extremely unexpected.
“Do you know what this is? Say it, what’s going on here.” The aunt’s voice stabilized a little bit when she realized that Tang Xinyun wasn’t in danger, but now the soulforce in the area had become rather curious.
Hesitating, Bai Yunfei replied, “If I’m not wrong, this is… what happens when a soul contract is formed!”
Jing Mingfeng and Zhao Mancha spoke at the same time, surprised about what Bai Yunfei had said.
“Yes, if I’m right, this is exactly that.” Bai Yunfei nodded as he continued to observe Tang Xinyun with curiosity. No matter how much he studied the situation, this scenario was exactly as Hong Yin described. This is what would happen during a contract between a soul cultivator and a soulbeast.
“An exchange of soulforce is to share everything. Not only is soulforce shared, but even their lives become linked… Yes, this is exactly how brother Hong Yin had described a soul contract! From the looks of this, it was the Quickshade Bird that initiated it! But it won’t be that easy…” Bai Yunfei’s eyes lit up with skepticism. “But, why? Why did the Quickshade Bird decide to offer a soul contract with miss Tang… was it because she’s saving its life? The short connection of life during this period would indeed let it recover quickly, but still, it isn’t close to dying anymore. It was trying its best to prevent being captured by the Beast Taming School, so why offer a soul contract?”
As his mind whirled with his thoughts, Bai Yunfei said to Tang Xinyun, “Miss Tang! Do not reject the connection into your soul! Accept the soul of the Quickshade Bird, and focus on that! As long as you communicate with it, you will form a soul contract! From today on, it will be your soulbeast partner!”
Tang Xinyun didn’t respond to Bai Yunfei. Whether it was because she didn’t hear him or if she couldn’t respond, Bai Yunfei didn’t know. The two soulforces were slowly ebbing back and forth between the two parties, but no one else was able to sense it. Bai Yunfei shook his head at Zhao Mancha to express that she shouldn’t worry and that she should back away to wait for what happens next. The orange glow surrounding her body slowly dissipated into the air. However, her eyes were still nervous, and she was still ready to move should the situation arise.
Several minutes later, the rapidly spinning whirlwind slowed down by a decent amount before finally dissipating. Leaves and branches scattered everywhere, and Tang Xinyun could be seen sprawled on the ground with a rather tiny Quickshade Bird nested in her arms. Both of them remained motionless.
“Young miss!” The aunt cried out in alarm as she rushed on over to inspect Tang Xinyun. Realizing that she had fainted due to soulforce exhaustion, she let out a sigh of relief.
“Didn’t I say she would be alright? Aunty, you need to relax. Miss Tang will recover soon enough.” Bai Yunfei looked around to everyone. “Well then, let’s go back. I bet boss Huang has been waiting for us for a very long time now. I heard that he’s waiting for us at a road stop nearby. Let’s hurry on over and let miss Tang rest there.”
That night within a bigger inn.
Bored to death, Bai Yunfei, Jing Mingfeng, and Tianming sat around a square table while eating shelled peanuts and talking with each other. Huang Wan and the other travelers sat by the few tables to the sides, and conversed to one another in quiet voices. Within the spacious area, there were still several other travelers that had stopped by this place to have their meal. Since Guyi City wasn’t too far away, the amount of people that traveled here were many.
“Sigh…” Jing Mingfeng tossed several peanuts into his mouth. Followed by a swig of wine, he let out a disappointed sigh.
“Brother Jing, you’ve been sighing for a long time now. What’s been on your mind?” Tianming asked out of curiosity as he ate his peanuts at a leisurely pace.
“Hehe, I bet… he’s probably depressed about the fact that the Quickshade Bird formed a soul contract with Tang Xinyun.” Bai Yunfei smiled as he sipped his own cup of tea.
“How could I not be depressed?” Jing Mingfeng quirked his lips in ‘sorrow’, “It was a fifth-grade soulbeast! A wind element Quickshade Bird… we were the ones that saved him. Why didn’t he choose me then? You’re a fire type, and I’m a wind type. It was no contest who would be chosen! But, before I could even get a chance to talk to it, it already chose another to soulbind with…”
“You’ve been depressed for an entire afternoon already, give it a rest.” Bai Yunfei shook his head. “Didn’t you hear aunty Zhao say that the Quickshade Bird was on the verge of death? If miss Tang hadn’t been there to form a soul contract, then you’d be trying to communicate with a dead bird. That bird is an unwilling creature. Even if it died, it wouldn’t submit to the Beast Taming School. So, even though you saved it, I doubt it’ll allow itself to be your soulbeast partner. Tang Xinyun had the chance and had the heart to tempt the Quickshade Bird. It was this luck that helped her, just accept it…”
“Agh…” Jing Mingfeng fell into depression again at those words. Pouring himself another cup, he held the wine bottle to Bai Yunfei, “Come on gramps, take a sip or two. What kind of man doesn’t drink? Do you want people to hate you or something?”
“Gramps…” Bai Yunfei’s lips quirked. After the silent exchange they had during that afternoon, the relationship between the two looked as if it had become close together. This new name Jing Mingfeng had come up with for him was something that Bai Yunfei wasn’t inclined to stop. Shaking his head, he replied, “If I’m hated, that’s fine. I won’t drink. It’s bitter and pungent. What is so good about drinking that?”
“What’s so bad about drinking? If you get drunk, you can just use your soulforce to disperse the alcohol can’t you?”
“Then what’s the point of drinking wine? I’d much rather drink tea.” Bai Yunfei took another sip of his tea.
“Pft, not even a single bit of heroism to you. It’s a wonder how you’re a fire type; the other fire soul cultivators are all heroes or villains. In general, they’re all straightforward people.” Jing Mingfeng looked down at Bai Yunfei with a smile, “Then, Tianming, do you want a sip?”
“Yes! Yes! I want to be like a man and drink! How great it’ll be…” Tianming nodded his head in elation.
“Good! That’s the spirit! Come, I’ll pour you a cup. You’ll be satisfied, I guarantee it!” Jing Mingfeng laughed as he poured a cup of wine.
Taking the wine cup, Tianming gave it a curious sniff. Then, following Jing Mingfeng’s example, he drained it in a single gulp…
Three seconds later, Tianming’s face turned ‘slightly’ red, like a monkey. Twitching just slightly, he drained the rest of his tea cup so that even the leaves from were gone.
“Eh…” Bai Yunfei’s mouth twitched as he let out a curse to Jing Mingfeng, “Look what you did. You’re always tormenting him. The way I see it, he’s even more exaggerated than I am…”
Then Tianming suddenly said, “Haha, I’m fine! Absolutely fine! I feel… I feeellll pretty good. Hehe, so this is what it feels like to have a drink…”
“What was that? Have you never drank before?” Jing Mingfeng asked.
“Nope. Never. My house is pretty strict! I couldn’t even take a step outside. Can’t do this, can’t do that… mother and grandmother were so strict, always nagging me about this or that. They always treated me like a child. It was annoying!” Tianming’s face was flushed with a red hue. Somehow, he had gotten drunk from a single cup.
Narrowing his eyes, Bai Yunfei was about to say something when he sensed something weird behind him. Bai Yunfei turned just in time to see Zhao Mancha walk down from the second story.
“Aunty Zhao, how’s miss Tang?” Bai Yunfei asked the weary woman as he handed her a cup of tea.
“How’s the Quickshade Bird?” Jing Mingfeng asked in addition.
Taking a sip of her tea to calm herself, the woman responded, “There hasn’t been anything major. She woke up just now, but then went back to sleep. That soul contract took a lot out of her. She was on the verge of making a breakthrough to the Soul Sprite realm and condensing her essence windseed, but she ended up throwing that away while increasing her burdens even more. I assume she will be back to normal tomorrow…”
“She gave it up? Why?” The three males asked in confusion.
“That’s because the young lady wishes to cultivate the elemental fire…” The aunty spoke with a shake of her head before changing the subject, “Did you take care of the beast tamers properly? Did they find out who you were?”
“Of course not. Aunty, you don’t need to worry. We were lenient with them. As long as we travel carefully, we won’t encounter any more trouble. With how we changed our faces, they won’t be able to find us no matter how much they try…” Jing Mingfeng waved his hand.
“That’s good then…” Zhao Mancha sighed in relief.
“Our food’s here. Let’s eat first. Today has been a tiring day. After we eat, we can hurry up on the road tomorrow.” Bai Yunfei spoke as soon as he spotted a waiter bringing a platter of food.
That night within his room, Bai Yunfei sat on top of his bed, he recalled the day’s events. After careful deliberation, Bai Yunfei shook his hand to take an item out.
It was the golden rope he had taken…