At this time, a faint shadow could be found inside the primordial chaos, but it was completely shrouded by the essence so one couldn’t tell whether it was male or female; it was only a blur of a shadow.
If the elders of the river sect could see this shadow, they would absolutely become shocked. This shadow was exactly the same as their patriarch, Immortal Emperor Qian Li!
Seeing the shadow within the chaos, Li Qiye couldn’t help but become silent. Meanwhile, the shadow initiated the conversation: “Congratulations, you have finally regained your body. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until this day.”
“So much time has passed… Qian Li, you are still here.” Li Qiye eventually sighed softly and said: “You know that you are no longer in this world.”
The shadow basked in primordial chaos answered: “I know.” There was a very particular order to the shadow’s voice; it seemed as if their tone was the sound of the grand dao. This also made their sex indecipherable.
“I was waiting for you to come back.” The shadow continued: “Although I am no longer here, my will and sentiment remain with this land.”
Li Qiye sat down and asked with a smile: “Or maybe you are here because you do not hope to see me take those items away?”
The shadow became silent for a long time before gently asking: “That year, when you and I created this miracle, what was our initial goal?”
Li Qiye responded: “It was to create the Thousand Carp River, and that was also why I never returned. If I wished to take them away, then I would have done so earlier. However, if your descendants are not worthy of these things, then I shall take them away.”
This prompted a question from the shadow: “Then do you feel like the current Thousand Carp River is worthy for you to leave them here? If the existences in this domain do not have these items, then they cannot reach the dao.”
Li Qiye turned quiet before eventually speaking in a low voice: “I knew you would leave a sentiment behind in this place, so I came back to see a friend.” Li Qiye then sighed dejectedly.
“If you choose to leave them here, then it would be a great blessing for the Thousand Carp River, and a great blessing for all the existences in this domain.” The shadow continued on: “This land has many things that I can’t forget.”
Li Qiye was silent for a long time before he helplessly smiled to say: “Then we can leave them here. It seems like I am unable to refuse your request.”
“But you have done so in the past.” The voice in the chaos spoke softly in a very gentle manner.
After the past was brought up, Li Qiye shook his head and replied: “Even though you are an Immortal Emperor, you should know that the Immortal Demon Grotto is eternal. Even you will find it difficult to succeed. And even if you were able to do it, you would surely die as well. Just like before when I groomed the group of Min Ren, I didn’t intend for them to die for me…”
“… The same applies to you. It is very difficult for an Immortal Emperor to emerge in each generation. An Immortal Emperor exists not only to reign supreme over the Nine Worlds, but they must also protect this heaven and earth — you should be aware of this. Trading an Immortal Emperor for me is not something I desire. In this world, there are many wonderful things as well as tasks that we must perform. A crow is fine, an imperial teacher is also the same; to me, training someone is not for me to use them as a tool or let them die in my stead.” 1
Here, he let out a disappointing sigh.
A long time later, the shadow in the chaos gently asked: “Are you lonely?”
Li Qiye replied with a smile: “Once one is used to it, one will no longer feel lonesome. For tens of millions of years, I had Min Ren, Tun Ri, and people like you to spend time with me, so I should be happy instead.”
After a period of silence, the shadow let out a long sigh filled with sadness before finally speaking: “I have found something for you.”
An item flew out from the primordial chaos and landed in front of Li Qiye.
Li Qiye took a look at it before emotionally exclaiming: “Elusive Heavenly Vase!” He then gently touched the ancient vase.
The shadow said: “I know you have been searching for this thing for a very long time. After you went into hibernation, I opened a separate domain and the heavens did not let me down. I have finally found it.”
Li Qiye carefully put the vase away and smiled: “I have forgotten about it until now, but I was indeed very interested in it in the past. I wanted to research the legendary Elusive Heavenly Mountain, but I had put this matter on hold.”
“Because you are a very busy man.” The shadow in the chaos smiled; it was a very pleasant smile.
Li Qiye also smiled back. All the events in the past were still as clear as ever in his mind. Unfortunately, the endless time shrouded them until today when these memories were evoked once more.
“Can I see you?” A while later, the shadow in the chaos asked.
Li Qiye looked at the shadow and, after a long silence, he sighed and disappeared into the primordial chaos.
Near the golden temple, Lan Yunzhu looked up at the Golden Divine Willow and saw a sprite-like creature akin to sea grass flying around.
No, it was not sea grass but a Yin Yang Immortal Sungrass, and it was a king on top of that! Seeing so many Yin Yang King Sungrass shocked Lan Yunzhu.
The value of a Yin Yang King Sungrass was much higher than an Eight Transformation Soul Grass; it was comparable to a two or three million year old King Herb. In addition, this was a king sungrass that had turned into a bright golden color, so it was much more precious than old King Herbs.
There had always been people diving down the pond at the Thousand Carp River to catch immortal sungrass, but they very rarely ever caught a king sungrass, let alone one that had reached this golden color.
While being astonished at the sight of so many king sungrass, she also wanted to catch a few. However, no matter which techniques she performed, she was unable to catch any of these flying king sungrass beneath the Golden Divine Willow.
As she pondered on how to catch one, she heard the voice of Li Qiye right next to her: “You won’t be able to catch a king sungrass right below the Golden Divine Willow.”
Lan Yunzhu turned around to see Li Qiye standing there for who knew how long.
She exploded the moment she saw him: “Damned Little Devil, you dared to leave me outside!?” She was prepping her claws against Li Qiye and spoke resentfully: “Watch me take care of you!”
“Girl, it is not because I wanted to leave you outside, but because you couldn’t enter.” Li Qiye grinned and continued: “Not just anyone can enter the golden temple.”
The angry Lan Yunzhu snorted. After a while, she calmed down and asked while gazing at Li Qiye: “What did you take from there?”
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Li Qiye replied while meeting her gaze: “Even if I took some items, they are only things that belonged to me. However, your Thousand Carp River is lucky. Out of remembrance for your patriarch, I have left those things behind.”
“Really?” Lan Yunzhu stared at Li Qiye with doubts as if she wanted to see if he was hiding any treasures on his body.
Li Qiye angrily glared at her and said: “If I wanted to take those items, then what can your sect do to me? This was just my last deed to end the fateful ties with the Thousand Carp River.” He sighed softly after having said this.
Lan Yunzhu was caught off guard. She felt that Li Qiye seemed to be sad, but it was not because of the treasures. Ever since she met him, she found him to be a happy and always-smiling person; never had she seen him in such a sad state.
However, it was just for a second. Lan Yunzhu was not so sure and suspected that she might have just misread it. What could make Li Qiye so sad? She was quite curious about this.
Amidst her curious confusion, Li Qiye let out a long whistle and a very strange thing happened. A king sungrass slowly flew into Li Qiye’s palm, thus allowing him to easily catch it.
“Impossible!” Lan Yunzhu was astounded after seeing this. She also whistled just like Li Qiye, but all the other king sungrass ignored her.
“How did you do that?” Lan Yunzhu stared at Li Qiye in astonishment and asked.
Li Qiye revealed a mysterious smile and said: “It’s a secret. You won’t be able to find out. But of course, if we consummate our marriage tonight, then I can reconsider about clueing you in.”
“Go die!” Lan Yunzhu immediately blushed as she tried to kick Li Qiye.
Li Qiye laughed and jumped up, then he suddenly disappeared within the willow tree. A bit later, Li Qiye landed with a hat in his hand; it was a hat made from golden willow branches that were weaved together. Each branch emitted strands that resembled golden silk universal laws, causing onlookers to feel a disturbance in their mind.
Lan Yunzhu looked at the hat made from interwoven willow branches in Li Qiye’s hand and asked: “What is that thing?”
“Golden Willow Crest.” Li Qiye answered with a smile: “Unfortunately, I won’t be giving it to you since you haven’t perform the duties of a fiancee.”
Lan Yunzhu snappily glared at him and retorted: “I don’t care for it at all.”
“Let us go, one Yin Yang King Sungrass is enough to beat your protectors.” Li Qiye looked at the golden temple one last time and secretly sighed in his heart.
Lan Yunzhu looked at him and paused for a moment before speaking: “I have to report this to the sect master.” In the end, Lan Yunzhu was still a disciple of the Thousand Carp River. This Golden Divine Willow was too important to the sect, so she must report it to the sect master.
1. “Someone to die in my stead” can be scapegoat or fall guy. But I chose to use a more literal translation, because it fits the particular narrative a lot more.