That was the real starlight splendor.
They weren't the resplendent stars Guo Pingrong could only summon with the unique starlight splendor weapon, but brilliant specks that scattered from each move and turn of his body. They shot toward eternity from far away, with an irresistible natural force. He controlled the whole situation at his own pace.
It was dream-like.
A deep, intoxicated and unbreakable dream.
After the 400th move…
Only the leading bird was left diving relentlessly toward Fang Yimo, and colorful feathers flew everywhere, landing onto plants and drying them out. Left without a choice, Fang Yimo had to dodge a little to avoid the fragments of the rack.
The dodging maneuver opened up a gap within the battle situation that he had full control over.
The silver light emitted by Zhan Beiye's mighty spear turned golden, solidifying into a ray wall that shone down on Fang Yimo.
A silver sword easily appeared in Zhangsun Wuji's hand out of a sudden, its tip flickering coldly. He pierced through the only gap before a cold light flashed, as the sword sprang up and shot toward Fang Yimo's neck.
Zong Yue leaped off the ground and flew parallel to it, and a sword could be seen from his side. It was a fine, long and oddly shaped sword that he did not reveal or aim at any part of Fang Yimo's body. Instead, he swept his body to the side like a bolt of lightning as he approached Fang Yimo, and went straight for his knees.
At this point, Fang Yimo would lose his legs if he raised them, get poisoned if he waved his sleeve, and he couldn't even breathe recklessly. All he could do was retreat.
Three men and one bird pursued relentlessly, and Fang Yimo landed on the wooden platform by the corridor on the tip of his toes. The trio had closed in by now, and he flicked a finger, raising a whole windscreen from behind him and sending it toward them at full blast.
"Really seeking death-" Fang Yimo smirked, only to stop a second later.
Someone had gently pressed a hand on the middle of his back.
A burst of crisp and bone-chilling laughter sounded.
"Who says women are all like that? Do you think I'm a playboy like you?"
The wind stopped in that instant and everyone, including Fang Yimo, started smiling.
With a hand on his back and another hand grabbing onto the windscreen, Meng Fuyao laughed in satisfaction. "Finally, you retreated into the house and started smashing things. Never would I dare come close to you otherwise."
Taking a deep breath, Fang Yimo smiled. "Good, good."
He cast his eyes toward the back and asked in a warm, friendly tone, as if they were longtime friends, "Not poisoned?"
"Not before, not after," Meng Fuyao smiled. "Not since your chrysanthemum tea."
"You've been on guard since the start," he stated. "I have underestimated you."
"To be honest, I still find it hard to believe it. One of the strongest men to live has actually chosen to work as a server. Seems like the legend that you act freely and according to your heart's desire is very true. Why would I neglect my research if I was coming to find you?" she questioned. "This is your residence, a fact we have managed to dig out, unlike others. You said that this is the place she had waited for you but looks like it's exactly the opposite. You waited here for the woman who had eloped."
Fang Yimo shuddered, his voice turning cold. "One more word and I'll kill you."
Meng Fuyao fell silent, but continued after some time, "Take note that I'm not stopping because I'm afraid of you, but because I do not wish to reopen your wounds." At that, she reached a hand out. "Antidote to Emotion Lock."
"Take note that I'm agreeing not because I have no choice, but because I like that gift," he responded. After a short pause, he retrieved a piece of paper from his robe and tossed it near Zong Yue's feet. "I was too lazy to develop the antidote since there's no one worth saving. Do it yourself if you have the capability."
He smiled somewhat slyly. "I do want to see how you would harmonize the Nine-Fox Flower and Thousand-Snake Grass - two completely clashing medical properties - without causing death."
Zong Yue picked the ingredient list up and started to frown. "There are only uncrackable hearts and not uncrackable prescriptions."
Fang Yimo only smirked. He turned to look at Meng Fuyao and added, "With my skills, the inner energy in my body has already formed a natural protective barrier. The most you can do is to inflict injury on me, but you will not be able to kill me. Are you certain you want me as a mortal enemy?"
"Weren't we mortal enemies before this?" Meng Fuyao asked curiously. "Was the poison in your chrysanthemum tea and wine actually sugar cubes? Did you come to Huazhou just to have a heart to heart talk with me?"
"This is a promise. I can save you once, and then kill you," Fang Yimo stated bluntly. "Think about it."
"Doesn't add up," Meng Fuyao answered immediately. "You're going to kill me anyway, and since I'm not your match, death is certain. Why would I care to be saved by you once?"
"Oh yeah?" Fang Yimo smiled, sweeping his gaze across the four individuals. "Don't forget that they will also become my enemies. If you fail to kill me with a blow and they, too, are unable to stop me, there is going to be a few more names added to my revenge list."
"Won't they be able to stop you when you're already half dead? Aren't you too full of yourself?" Meng Fuyao snorted, inwardly noting that it was challenging to estimate the might a strong player carried even on his deathbed. 'Sigh… it's fine if I take the risk, but how can I drag them down…?'
Detecting her expression, Zhangsun Wuji spoke up. "Do what you need to do, Fuyao."
"I don't believe I can't hold him down if you just throw him a good one, Fuyao. Try it," Zhan Beiye joined in.
Meng Fuyao smiled and released her hand, pushing Fang Yimo out.
"Just a heartbroken man," she commented. "You're someone who lives in the past, so not even a crystal house can light up your heart."
"I thank you for not poisoning the dishes and the gift," Fang Yimo expressed, leaping onto the eave while holding onto the crystal house. His scarlet sleeves fluttered in the wind like a shallow red moon. "You have preserved something pure for me, and I finally feel a tangible warmth in this world."
"I have always been more honest than you, and hence happier," Meng Fuyao waved. "Sir, it was one woman who had offended you. Stop bringing down the innocent."
"That is my business," Fang Yimo stated, looking her straight in the eye. "I have sworn to avenge my disciple, so I have agreed to save you once, and then kill you; if I fail to kill you, our feud ends."
"Feuds are creations of the mind," Meng Fuyao sighed. "Up to you."
Fang Yimo smiled. "As for the next time we meet, whether I choose to save or kill you… it's up to your luck."
With a swoop of his sleeves, he floated off the ground and shot up into the sky like an inextinguishable star.
Meng Fuyao followed his movement, mumbling to herself, "Perverts surface every year but the number surpasses expectation this year."
Far away, Zhan Beiye stretched his body, almost exaggeratedly, laughing. "A verbal attack here, and a verbal attack there. What a great setup, finally caught the bird."
A soft smile appeared on Meng Fuyao's face as she gazed at Zhangsun Wuji, who was approaching.
With the antidote prescription on hand and the nearing of the True Martial Arts Meet, Meng Fuyao was ready to set out. She had informed Zhangsun Wuji beforehand, to which he responded, "I know you must go, but please promise to attend as Wuji Nation's courageous general, and please take care of your body. Do not overdo it."
Meng Fuyao knew that his request for her to go as the nation's general was to provide an additional layer of protection. Giggling, she uttered, "Eh? Why wouldn't I brag if given the chance? A general definitely sounds better than a commoner. No worries, I'm vain."
Caressing her hair Zhangsun Wuji added, "Actually I do hope that you can be even vainer."
Meng Fuyao looked up, pretending not to hear. What could possibly be a vainer act than attending the meet as Wuji's general? Meng Fuyao knew she had to be cautious when conversing with Zhangsun Wuji.
"I have been gone for too long and will need to return to Zhongzhou for some time," Zhangsun Wuji informed, pushing Yuan Bao toward her. "I'll look for you there if possible, so please take care of this guy here, and bring him to see the world, or he will be too shortsighted."
Lord Yuan Bao squatted on his palm, his face expressionless. He was using silence to protest against his seemingly worthless fate.
Meng Fuyao picked him up and asked curiously, "Do you guys share a strong telepathic connection? Will you know where he is if he just gives you a beep?"
"Not that magical," Zhangsun Wuji laughed. "I can only know if he is still alive, and his general direction, so you have to be careful and not let him stray."
"You should carry him. He's your pet," Meng Fuyao replied but pulled him back after some thought. "Wuji…"
"I'll tell you again. Don't be too nice to me," Meng Fuyao expressed bluntly and quickly. "I think my skills are decent enough now, and I will be strengthened when Gale's power is completely digested. After the meet I might head straight north toward the mainland, and I don't know for how long I will be there. Perhaps I'll meet another mighty person, and that's the end…"
"I'll tell you again, then," Zhangsun Wuji pulled Lord Yuan Bao, who was just breaking out into a happy dance, back again and brought her forehead to his. "This is my business."
Meng Fuyao let out a bitter smile. She had hinted her intention to Zhan Beiye as well and had gotten a similar reaction. The good thing was that the temporary separation would give dilute feelings and emotions. Distance would benefit everyone.
Zong Yue had left for Huazhou earlier to source for ingredients. Fang Yimo's bizarre prescription was like a treasure to him, and he had been burying his head in it for the past few days, even mumbling to himself at meal times: "Lighten the dosage? Increase the black lotus leaf? No…" To this, Meng Fuyao would tap her bowl with her chopstick and say, "You've got rice in your nose…"