There was a river in Redfire City known as the Clearjade River that spanned about fifty meters. The water flowed slowly and was so clear that the bottom of the river could be seen. Willows were strewn across the shores, and with the greenish-blue hue that surrounded the area, the place was extremely serene. This was one of the more frequent haunts for the people of the city to clear their minds and have fun.
Tonight, the river was far more popular than it would normally be during the daytime. The moon was shining brightly above the middle of the river, and lanterns had been hung up in numerous amounts within the surrounding five kilometers. There was so much light it was even brighter at night than during daytime. If one were to look from afar, all they would see was a sea of lanterns.
By the side of the river, several lanterns hung from the willow tree’s branches. Vendor booths had been set up on both sides of the roads, and lanterns had been hung on the booths as well. The vendors sold plenty of delicious foods to the customers.
After Bai Yunfei and the group finished their meal, they all decided to head to the carnival. Splitting up, each person began to go to wherever they pleased. Whether by accident or by fortune, Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun were grouped together—with Huangfu Rui of course.
With Bai Yunfei and Tang Xinyun walking side by side, they slowly progressed down the busy streets. Huangfu Rui held a small fish-shaped lantern in one hand and a tanghulu in the other. She hummed a folk song as she skipped along and peered all over the place. She was followed by Xiao Rourou who pranced right beside her. The quickshade bird flew several inches above their heads and would occasionally flap its wings.
The three of them were enjoying all the strange, exotic sights around them as they slowly made their way from the outside to the center. At times, they’d stop at a booth to guess at the riddles within the lanterns, winning several more fish lanterns for Huangfu Rui to carry.
“Ah, come to think of it, I haven’t thanked you for taking care of me when I was unconscious a while back, Xinyun.” Breaking the silence, Bai Yunfei mentioned when he became a Soul Ancestor and was unconscious for two whole nights. While he didn’t know what was happening during that time, he found out who took care of him later.
Though surprised, Tang Xinyun shook her head with a smile. “It’s been awhile since then. Why bring that up now? There isn’t anything to thank me for. If anything, I owe you for saving my life in the past!”
“Uh… what’s with this tit-for-tat? I did help you, but I don’t think it was that serious to say I saved your life…” Bai Yunfei honestly replied. “Well then, in either case, I still want to thank you. How about this, why don’t you pick something out and I’ll buy you it as thanks?”
“I…” She wanted to decline at first, but Bai Yunfei’s earnest expression had convinced her otherwise. Thinking about it, she said with bright eyes, “Actually, I have something in mind.”
“Oh? What is it? Please don’t let it be anything too hard to find, I won’t be able to buy it otherwise.”
“Haha, you don’t need to go looking for it since I already have it on me.”
“It’s already on you? What do you mean?”
With a shake of her hand, a single object appeared on her palm. “It’s this.”
Looking at the object, Bai Yunfei could see a wooden sculpture of a bird. The bird had both of its wings spread out wide and was looking straight ahead with a slightly open beak.
It looked as if the bird was preparing to take flight with a cry ready to be emitted.
“That’s…” He didn’t know what he was looking at exactly, but the sculpture looked familiar. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.
“Did you forget?” Tang Xinyun smiled. “This was when we first met in Stonegroove City. You ‘forced’ this onto me, haha. You ran off right away, so I didn’t have time to give it back to you. I had it this entire time, but I only just remembered it now.”
“Stonegroove City?” Bai Yunfei asked. “Oh! I remember now! I only just bought that when I was in the city, but then Jing Mingfeng framed me with aunty Zhao… I was honestly confused back then, so I guess the sculpture ended up with you…”
The very mention of Jing Mingfeng’s name left Bai Yunfei’s eye with an involuntary itch. Even now, the thought of beating him up was very appealing; he had been a step away from certain disaster that time!
“Yes. Thinking about it now, our first encounter was… oh, well, I guess that was Jing Mingfeng. He took on your appearance, I remember…” Tang Xinyun covered the smile on her lips, “Why did he frame you, actually? I never learned the reason for that.”
“That… I was just extremely unlucky! When I first got to Stonegroove City…” Bai Yunfei began to regale the story of how he and Jing Mingfeng met to Tang Xinyun. He told her everything all the way too when he was framed.
After listening to his story, Tang Xinyun gave an admiring smile to Bai Yunfei, “Yunfei,” She whispered, “You’re a very generous person. Any other soul cultivator would definitely have made sure Jing Mingfeng wouldn’t do anything to them in the future. Even the more stone-hearted ones would probably have called for his head, but you… you became friends with him…”
“Haha… if I couldn’t get back my space ring, I’m sure I’d never be able to forgive him either. But I got it back, so no harm no foul. Why should I bear a grudge? He had a lapse in judgment, but I won’t hold that against him.
“Well, how do you feel about Jing Mingfeng?”
Thinking about the question, Tang Xinyun responded, “Well, Jing Mingfeng isn’t a bad person in all honesty; he’s actually a good friend, but people who’re like you are rare in the world. Maybe this is one of your good points.
“There might be people who think what you did was silly, but for me, that made me really li—”
Her words stopped, prompting Bai Yunfei to ask, “You really what?”
Tang Xinyun paused in her place. “I said… it made me really like how you do things…”
“Brother strawhat, sis Yun, come quick! There’s a shining building over here!!”
At that moment, Huangfu Rui’s excited voice called out to the two of them. Looking up, the two saw Huangfu Rui several meters ahead. A half-eaten tanghulu was still in her hands, but it was forgotten by the entrancing sight in front of her.
Following her gaze, Bai Yunfei could see some sort of ‘tower’ in the middle of the Clearjade River. It shined bright with all sorts of colors. Since it was far away, the exact dimensions of the tower couldn’t really be determined, but there was at least a good few dozen meters between Bai Yunfei and the tower. The tower was shining with a light so bright that it shone for a hundred of meters in every direction, an awe-inspiring sight.
Huangfu Rui’s curious gaze had been enough to make Bai Yunfei laugh, “Let’s go take a look.”
Tang Xinyun nodded her head, “Yes, let’s.”
As they walked, Bai Yunfei realized that they had already made it to the center of the city. There was a larger gathering of people on the roads next to the river compared to before. Thankfully, the roads were still wide enough to service all of the walkers without being congested.
Still, he shifted sideways and held his right hand out to his right to help Huangfu Rui and Tang Xinyun move forward without being stopped by anyone else on their way to the bridge.
As they approached, the three of them could finally see the giant building with greater clarity than before.
They could now see the lantern-adorned building the city called the ‘Lighthouse’!!