In yet another seemingly responsive answer to Bai Yunfei’s name for it, the bird opened its wings wide and flew up into the air!!
It’s sudden ascent into the air scared Bai Yunfei, but he could tell that it was clearly overjoyed. From how it was flying around him, the bird seemed as though it was trying to say, “Look, look! I can fly!”
“Haha….” For the first time in a while, Bai Yunfei smiled.
Soon, Xiao Qi came back to roost on Bai Yunfei’s right shoulder, having tired itself out. Chirping twice when it landed, the bird began to groom itself.
The two had only met each other for a short while now, but Bai Yunfei felt a great deal of intimacy with it, but why he felt the way he did was unknown to him.
He looked outside of the cave–it was dark now.
Almost an entire day had passed in the cave!
Bai Yunfei stretched his back with a sigh, “Forget it then. I’ll spend the night here! Today has been far too much, so I’ll be taking a nice nap tonight!”
What he experienced today in the cave had been far more taxing on his mind than any fight with a class six soulbeast thus far. Sleeping tonight would be without a doubt a great way to recover, so that was what he intended to do.
Out of all the soul cultivators, he was probably the only who who enjoyed ‘sleeping’ just for the sake of sleeping.
Eyes scanning the cave, Bai Yunfei found himself staring at the giant nest at the center. “Xiao Qi,” he spoke to the bird, “this used to be your nest, mind if I borrow it?”
He moved without even waiting for Xiao Qi’s response and laid down onto the nest. The nest had no stink as one might expect from one, and it was rather comfortable to rest upon, much to Bai Yunfei’s satisfaction. Getting comfortable, he placed his hands behind his head and slowly drifted off to sleep.
Xiao Qi circled around Bai Yunfei’s head twice before finally descending down to his right to curl up next to him. Resting its head to its waist to get comfortable, the bird followed Bai Yunfei and fell asleep.
Hour by hour, time slowly trickled by inside the cave. On the outside, the night sky was still bright as ever, and the moonlight forest was silently calm, aside from the occasional roar from a soulbeast.
But not a single one of them came to the cave.
In the cave, a bird and man was sleeping together, one of the two undergoing a strange change….
And the one that was changing was….Xiao Qi!
Both of the cave’s inhabitants were asleep, but the prisma oriole was glowing from its roost next to Bai Yunfei. The light shined softly from its feathers, and despite being so close to Bai Yunfei’s eyes, they were not so bright so as to be painful.
Rather, it was a soothing glow, like something from a dream. It enveloped the area around them, filling the entire nest with that peaceful glow….
Furthermore, not even a single wisp of soulforce was to be felt here. If one had to make a comparison, then it’d be as if Xiao Qi had turned into a multi-colored lantern that emitted only light, not soulforce or elemental power. It had–for lack of a better word–mysteriously started to glow, but nothing else was happening on the surface.
And since soulforce wasn’t being used, Bai Yunfei wouldn’t be roused from his sleep.
Illuminated by the soft glows of Xiao Qi, Bai Yunfei slept peacefully. Everything was all right in the world….
But in Xiao Qi’s body, an unknown change was beginning to take place….
The morning after, when the first rays of the sun hadn’t even touched upon the small mountain the cave was in, Bai Yunfei was already starting to wake.
“Ah…..” Refreshed and renewed, Bai Yunfei stretched his body. “That feels great….I haven’t slept that well in forever.”
With a hop, Bai Yunfei leapt up to his feet and opened his eyes just in time to hear the sound of something hitting the ground.
It took a moment for Bai Yunfei to realize that something had been pressing on him when he slept, and when he stood up, that ‘something’ had been thrown to the side!
It took a moment for Bai Yunfei to think of the chirping, and when he finally remembered, he smiled. “Ah, Xiao Qi. What brings you running to me? Did you sle—”
His head was already turning to greet the bird while he spoke, but then when he saw Xiao Qi, his mouth froze mid-speech, and his eyes froze in absolute shock, as if he had just seen a ghost.
“Wh–who are you?!”
He spoke after two seconds of silence.
Not too far away, a brightly-colored figure was climbing back to its feet and dusting itself off while looking back at Bai Yunfei.
It was the prisma oriole…..but! It was bigger than before!!
What stood in front of Bai Yunfei now was a grown up prisma oriole!
Xiao Qi was now the same size of a rooster, and its feathers had a glossy sheen to them. Its feet had sharp claws now, and its head had several shinier feathers even.
It looked exactly the same as the prisma oriole Bai Yunfei watched fight the greenwood wolf yesterday!!
Perplexed by Bai Yunfei’s reaction, the bird looked down at itself as well, only to let out a startled squawk when it realized the change. It hopped up and down where it stood and even started to shake its body a bit.
Then, a soft glow started to glow from beneath its feathers. The glow persisted for a moment before Xiao Qi found itself shrinking in size back to the palm-sized bird it was once before!
Back to its original size, the bird chirped twice in satisfaction and flew back to Bai Yunfei’s shoulder.
Bai Yunfei stared at the bird as it landed. Holding his hand up for the bird to leap on next, he raised it to his eye to look.
“Are you really Xiao Qi?” He asked.
“Chirp chirp~!” It replied in affirmation.
“But…but….” Bai Yunfei couldn’t help but doubt the answer, “Your strength….it’s impossible!!”
Bai Yunfei’s disbelief wasn’t without reason! Not only was Xiao Qi capable of changing its size, it was now…. A lot stronger than before!
It was a late-stage class four now!