The hatred and despair Zhang Zhenshan felt for Bai Yunfei was enough to drive him far past the brink of sanity. He was willing to die in a way that assured mutual destruction!!
It might be called mutually assured destruction, but Zhang Zhenshan wasn’t confident that this would kill Bai Yunfei.
But… even if it didn’t, he still had to try!!
“Tsk!!” For once, panic settled in Bai Yunfei’s eyes. He had not expected Zhang Zhenshan to do such a thing, and he knew he was in danger now.
Not only was he too close to get away, this explosion could potentially kill him!
Fortunately, his reaction was quick. He drew back to create a little distance. Then he took out the Cataclysmic Seal and immediately protected himself with the barrier.
Practically moments after the barrier was erected and when Bai Yunfei felt safe and sound behind the barrier a hundred meters away, he suddenly realized something was amiss.
The powerful explosion he had been waiting for still hadn’t arrived. When he looked up to see why, all he saw was a gust of black wind.
Wind as black as the night had appeared when he had retreated. It had enveloped Zhang Zhenshan while Bai Yunfei was distracted. In a whirlwind of energy, the black wind flew into the sky before traveling far away in the blink of an eye!
Zhang Zhenshan, who was about to self-destruct, had been carried away with it, literally gone with the wind!!
Dazed, Bai Yunfei looked at the spot where Zhang Zhenshan once stood. Eergy pooled over the ground where Zhang Zhenshan had dissolved his origin essence. The elemental ice there was starting to disappear into the world, but some of the ice was taking longer than most to disappear, proving that Zhang Zhenshan had once been there.
“What… what’s going on!?” Bai Yunfei howled. He called the Tempest Sword to him and immediately soared into the sky, but the black wind was nowhere to be found.
Bai Yunfei tried to use his soulforce to track down Zhang Zhenshan, but he wasn’t even able to find an approximate direction of where he might have gone.
From Bai Yunfei’s arrival to when the black wind appeared, only ten seconds had passed. Zhang Zhenshan had been rescued and taken away by someone before he died!!
“Who did this… why would anyone try to save him? The Glacial School, maybe? However, Yu Fei’s still on Mt. Crimson, and the school doesn’t have anyone that could be this strong… who is it then? It has to be someone that knew I’d let Zhang Zhenshan live for now. No one would’ve decided to save him out of nowhere, would they? But… this means they have to be a Soul Exalt at the very least; why didn’t they do anything to me then?”
Still hovering on his sword, Bai Yunfei thought about what he should do next. He didn’t know who this mysterious person was, and he couldn’t find the man either nor any trace of Zhang Zhenshan.
Sighing, he turned to fly to Mt. Crimson.
“This is going to come back to haunt me later. If I had known that this would have happened, I’d have used the Cataclysmic Seal to kill him earlier…” Bai Yunfei thought with regret, “But even though Zhang Zhenshan didn’t blow himself up, his origin essence was dissolved. He won’t ever be as strong as he was before, so that shouldn’t mean any troubles for me.”
The second day on a small hillside of the Western Point—
As per usual, Bai Yunfei was laying on a grassy hillside, determinedly staring up at the clouds. This time, he wasn’t resting because of any complications with his training. Instead, he was resting because of incident that happened with Zhang Zhenshan last night.
No one had asked him about the results when he came back; they weren’t even supposed to know the purpose behind his trip, so all seemed peaceful in the school as if all was right in the world.
Bai Yunfei suspected that this mysterious user of black wind knew that he had been about to kill Zhang Zhenshan and had probably followed him there. That way, the man could spirit away Zhang Zhenshan without Bai Yunfei knowing.
If his suspicions were correct, then it had to be one of the ‘outsiders’ currently on Mt. Crimson.
Of those outsiders, it was safe to exclude Yu Fei from the list of suspects, leaving only Lin Dongxiao and Mo Ni.
He discreetly mad some inquiries, finding out that not even the guards that came with them had left the mountain that night
None of them had even done anything warranting suspicion in fact.
It was enough to make Bai Yunfei doubt himself. Maybe the enigma of that person was just far more stealthy than expected. In either case, he hadn’t found any clues and had no choice but to end his investigation there.
While thinking about the person behind all of this, memories Bai Yunfei had nearly forgotten started to resurface in his mind. From start to finish, his memories played like a spool and thread. Sequences of images and events unraveled one after another before finally a softer and more gentle image of a person appeared next.
Someone he had first felt a splotch of softness for and probably the first girl to hold feelings for him in any way.
She was also the first person he had felt pained for.
Bai Yunfei felt a growing mix of determination and relief just by thinking about those memories…
Those memories of long ago were pretty much just memories. There wasn’t really a need to forget about the people he had met and the things he had accomplished. They had brought him the strength to help him mature as a person, whether it was on an emotional or practical level.
Noticing the approaching aura of another, Bai Yunfei snapped out of his thoughts. Tilting his head, he noticed Tang Xinyun in front of him.
“Xinyun, what brings you here today? Do you have something to do?” He smiled as he sat up.
The white-robed Tang Xinyun looked at him curiously, “Do… do I need a reason to come look for you?”
“Er…” Caught off guard, Bai Yunfei shook his head in embarrassment, “Of course not, that’s not what I meant…”
“Haha, I know, I know. I was just joking with you.” A small giggle slipped from her lips as she took the spot next to Bai Yunfei, “So, what are you thinking about? Is it about training, or is it about the Glacial School?”
“Haha, it’s nothing.” He shook his head, “I’ve pretty much come to peace with it.”
“Come to peace?” Tang Xinyun tilted her head, but she didn’t question him, “That’s good. After finding you thinking so much these past two days, I was starting to worry…”
With a shake of her hand, the strawhat was gently placed over Bai Yunfei’s eyes, “I actually came here to give this back.”
Removing it from his eyes, Bai Yunfei realized that there was something different about the hat, “Oh? You fixed the hat for me?”
What he held in his hands right now was a completely patched up strawhat. Not a single hole could be seen anymore. Even the fraying edges of the hat were gone. The fact that the newer patches and stitching couldn’t be seen meant that Tang Xinyun’s repair work had been done meticulously and with great care.
If not for the fact that he could see the stats, Bai Yunfei would’ve assumed that this hat was a completely different hat and not his Walk-on Strawhat.
She smiled, “I did. Whenever you wear the hat, you always looked strange… so I thought I would fix it so it wouldn’t look so off.”
Her smile left Bai Yunfei in a slight daze.
Once upon a time, another girl had said that his strawhat was rather shabby-looking, but she had offered to buy him a new hat.
In the end, that had ended up being burned away—
With that, his feelings for the hat had been completely trampled over as well.
“Yunfei, what’s wrong? Is… is there something on my face?”
Bai Yunfei’s staring was distracting Tang Xinyun, who just had to ask to know. Touching her face with a hand as she asked, she didn’t feel anything but the reddening cheeks of hers…
“Haha, it’s nothing.” Bai Yunfei answered with a smile. He gave the strawhat another look before storing it away.
This hat wouldn’t end up destroyed. It was a treasure far too precious to him.