Near a small river in the class six area of the Soulbeast Forest.
From the south, the fearsome roar of a soulbeast scared a flock of bird soulbeasts into flight. Then came the shaking of the earth, where with each mighty footstep, a soulbeast as large as a three story building and blue as the ocean came running through the forest and towards a lake.
The giant blue soulbeast was the blue-eyes wyrm, and this area was a part of the forest where very few soulbeasts walked.
Two of the early-stage class six soulbeasts in the area retreated when it felt the blue-eyes wyrm invade their territory rather than come forward to stop it. Despite being of the same class, the blue-eyes wyrm was still stronger than its peers.
“Alright, let’s have a drink here, Xiao Lan.”
The wyrm came to a stop immediately by the lakeside at this command.
The voice came from on top of the wyrm’s head, and with a closer look, one would be able to see a young man sitting leisurely on top of it! On his right shoulder, a small bird the colors of the rainbow was carefully cleaning its feathers with its beak.
This young man was none other than Bai Yunfei.
Half a month had passed since Bai Yunfei left the caves. By using the Beast Taming Ring to tame the wyrm, Bai Yunfei had gained a mount to ‘tour’ the Soulbeast Forest.
He hadn’t a clear destination, so Bai Yunfei decided to just roam around the forest. Thanks to the wyrm’s intimidation, any soulbeast below the early-stage class six level fled whenever they felt its aura, and even the mid-stage class six soulbeasts weren’t willing to fight it.
Thus, Bai Yunfei was able to go for days on end without meeting a soulbeast.
That didn’t mean that the blue-eyes wyrm had no enemies or equals in the class six area, however. On the fourth day, Bai Yunfei was stopped by a late-stage class six vinebeast, but with his ‘coil’ form and the cooperation of the wyrm, the two were able to fight it on equal grounds.
In the end, Bai Yunfei emerged first from the fight as the victor.
Bai Yunfei learned his lesson after that fight and had the wyrm curb it’s aura by a bit. There was no helping its large frame, but with how many trees there were in the forest, it wouldn’t be too hard to travel out of sight from the other soulbeasts without earning any more unwanted attention.
Having researched the Beast Taming Ring even more throughout the month, Bai Yunfei felt himself rather accomplished with it, and taming the wyrm through mental strength was done with even more ease than before.
Just how Bai Yunfei was able to practice exerting his mental strength–or will—over another was rather obvious. Every so often, he’d remove the ring from the wyrm’s arm and wait for it to recover enough to start attacking Bai Yunfei again. Then, Bai Yunfei would find an opportunity in the fight to put the Beast Taming Ring back on and then subjugate it’s mind again with his mental strength….
For the first few iterations, the wyrm tried its best to attack Bai Yunfei with all it got. But when that proved fruitless, it swapped tactics and tried to flee. But each time, Bai Yunfei would forcibly equip the ring onto it before it could even get far away enough.
And after a month of ‘torment’, the blue-eyes wyrm was now completely terrified of Bai Yunfei. So submissive was the wyrm now that it didn’t even need Bai Yunfei to use the Beast Taming Ring. If he had a command, the wyrm would subconsciously start to obey.
Having noticed that, Bai Yunfei didn’t bother to use the ring to control it. He gave the wyrm some degree of freedom, and had even promised it to let it go after some time.
But whether it understood him or not, Bai Yunfei said it anyways.
For the time being, though, Bai Yunfei decided to give it the name of ‘Xiao Lan’.
TL Note: Like Xiao Qi, the Xiao here means little, and the Lan means blue.
Bai Yunfei leapt down from the wyrm’s head and waved his hand. “Go hunt for some food, but come back when it gets dark.”
As if being awarded amnesty, the eyes of the wyrm teared up. Turning about face, it ran into the forest to enjoy its ‘period of freedom’; the happiest part of its day.
While it couldn’t run away, it could at the very least enjoy moving about without being commanded.
Bai Yunfei walked to the lakes. After successfully testing that the water was safe to drink, Bai Yunfei leapt into the waters without warning.
Soaking comfortably in the waters, Bai Yunfei began to rinse his body of the accumulated filth from his travels. Once that was done, he started for the banks, splashing water as he left the waters. With a flash of red light, the robes on his body was dried in an instant, giving him an even more refreshed sensation.
An excited chirp from Xiao Qi was heard before it dove into the waters with a splash like an arrow. Coming back out from the waters a few meters away, Xiao Qi could be seen with a small mudfish in its beak before it was swallowed whole.
Still not satisfied by such a small meal, the bird disappeared in a flash of light to transform to the size of an eagle hawk. Diving back into the waters, it came back out with two even larger and fatter fishes in its claws to eat.
Rather than eating the fishes straight away, it flew in a circle back to where Bai Yunfei was and dropped the two fishes in front of him with a chirp.
“Haha, you want to eat fish for dinner?” Bai Yunfei chuckled, “Alright then, let me prepare the fire, go bring back another two.”
“Chirp~!” Hooting in joy, Xiao Qi took off again to bring back another two fish as requested.
While it did so, Bai Yunfei expertly cleaned the fishes of the guts and other unwanted parts. Finding a bunch of sticks, he used some of them to skewer the fishes while using the others to start a fire to cook over.
By the time the fire was made, and Bai Yunfei was finishing off the rest of the preparations, Xiao Qi was already back with the last two fishes. Perched on a nearby tree branch, it began to sing a happy tune to itself.
Its tune was melodic, and very happy sounding to the ears with how soothing the rhythm was. With how dangerous and foreboding the Soulbeast Forest felt, Xiao Qi’s song felt rather out of place, but not unwelcome.
As he listened to its song, Bai Yunfei shook his head with a smile. He learned a lot about Xiao Qi over the past few days, and what he learned had been very surprising, to say the least. The biggest shocker was that Xiao Qi’s intelligence and capacity to learn was beyond what Bai Yunfei had expected.
Already, the Xiao Qi of today was capable of understanding every single word Bai Yunfei said without error, and even nod in response to Bai Yunfei’s questions. All of the emotions on Xiao Qi’s were succinctly expressed, and the chirps it spoke matched the expressions just as well.
One more thing Bai Yunfei found hard to believe was the degree of closeness he and Xiao Qi had. In the short time they traveled together, Bai Yunfei felt like there was a deep ‘mental connection’ between him and the bird! More often than not, Bai Yunfei didn’t even need to say anything to let Xiao Qi know what he was thinking. The bird would just chirp in response, signifying as a response to a question or sentiment.
Situations like this were common occurrences for soul cultivators and their contracted soulbeasts, but Bai Yunfei knew that in his case, there was no contract between him and Xiao Qi.
It most likely had to do with the +14 egg, Bai Yunfei guessed. He remembered seeing the soul compatibility being at 75% before the egg hatched, which was a level high enough that it’d normally only be reached after contracting with a soulbeast.
So in a sense, rather than being contracted with him, Xiao Qi was Bai Yunfei’s ‘soulbound soulbeast’.
He expected Xiao Qi to leap several levels of strength like it did that one night before, but that never came. Xiao Qi remained a late-stage class four even to this day.
He tried his best to have Xiao Qi fight certain battles so he could try and see how strong it really was, but surprisingly, the bird was a ‘pacifist’. It never wanted to participate in battles and would fly to a faraway tree branch to watch Bai Yunfei fight, participating occasionally with a motivational chirp….
If Xiao Qi wasn’t willing to fight, then Bai Yunfei wouldn’t force the issue. It didn’t really matter to him how strong the bird was since it wasn’t much use in the place they were in.
It was still interesting to see Xiao Qi emanate four different elements at times, fire, wood, wind, and lightning to be specific. These were the same four elements that the egg listed as an affinity.
If anything, Xiao Qi was without a goal or danger in the world. It was content following Bai Yunfei around and was like a child exploring the unknown world for the very first time. Everything it came across was a source of curiosity for it, and each discovery filled the bird with boundless joy.
Just listening to the bird’s happy chirping for the past dozen days would fill anyone with a happy and peaceful mood….
“Alright, Xiao Qi, time to eat!” He called out to the bird after finishing cooking.
“Chirp chirp~!” There was a gleeful chirp before a shadow swooped down to grab hold of one of the cooked fishes. Biting a piece off, it swallowed the piece before chirping in satisfaction.
“Haha….” Smiling, Bai Yunfei took another one of the fishes to eat.
Polishing off the first fish, Bai Yunfei was about to start on the second when suddenly he flew to his feet to look at the forest in front of him!
In the darkness of the night, there was a faint bluish glow. It was traveling towards Bai Yunfei with the speed of a shooting star, and the light was getting brighter and brighter as it drew close!