Li Qiye stopped and smiled after turning around: “You have something else on your mind?”
The duck mused for a second before looking at him to say: “I don’t remember many things anymore, but I do worry about some things. If I am not mistaken, you said that you have been there before, correct?”
“Yes, not just once either. What do you want to know?” Li Qiye gently nodded.
It continued its inquiry: “Hmm, I wonder… how is it up there right now?”
“I understand.” Li Qiye smiled: “Those who have memories will undoubtedly long for something. Since you have forgotten already, I won’t speak of the details. I will only say that it is prosperous. No matter the race, they are multiplying well. This is the goal of living beings.”
The duck went quiet after hearing this. No one could read its thoughts at the moment.
“Frankly, I feel that you have done a good job in this regard.” Li Qiye smiled: “Though some people called you a bastard, a scoundrel, a worthless piece of scum… actually, I guess it’s more apt to call you a piece of stone dreg now…”
Li Qiye laughed at his own joke before continuing: “No matter what they might say about you, I think what you have done is pretty cool; after all, for those deities, it was harder to swallow than a fly. To tell the truth, I’ve never liked those bastards.” He ended with a gloating smirk.
The quiet duck looked back at him and asked: “What will you do in the future?”
“Don’t try to guess.” Li Qiye shook his head: “We are different. I have no responsibilities at all. Everything I do is for myself, so I have never thought about other matters.”
“Is that so?” The duck stared at Li Qiye and said: “Even though I haven’t left this place, I have heard a few Immortal Emperors talk about you, especially Immortal Emperor Min Ren. He said that you have been protecting the human race. Haven’t you thought about taking it to the next level?”
“Like what? Like what you did in the past, or perhaps what Immortal Emperor Fei Yang did? Hahaha…” Li Qiye shook his head: “Honestly, I have no interest in those matters. Plus, do you want me to do those things?”
The duck pondered before answering: “Perhaps Immortal Emperor Min Ren wanted you to do them.”
“Min Ren?” Li Qiye smiled and said: “That brat is not only kind, he sometimes also acts like a woman, whether by chance or not. He likes to become involved in many different things. He must have come here before and coincidentally met you. Perhaps he confided some sad things to you. Alas, the brat also left very quickly. If I am not mistaken, you were the one who gave him some tips.”
“I have forgotten already.” The duck shook its head: “My memory is becoming worse and I forget some things completely as if they were mere dreams.”
“Forgetting is a good thing. Not being able to forget is the real pain.” Li Qiye smiled, but his words carried a sorrow that ordinary people wouldn’t be able to sympathize with. He looked at the duck and said: “If anything, you should be happy. The more you forget, the closer you will be to success. That day will come when you completely forget everything!”
The duck became a bit emotional and said: “Perhaps forgetting is not a bad thing. After forgetting, it will feel like being reborn.”
Li Qiye smilingly stated: “Such an event is worthy of celebration. Rebirth — something so many people desire. If you are successful, it will be a miracle across the eons, an accomplishment that would be admired by many emperors. For millions of years now, so many have attempted it just to fail.”
The duck was not happy to hear his praise. It replied: “Immortal Emperor Min Ren told me that you have been through so much, can you forget it all?”
“Forget?” Li Qiye stared towards the distance as his eyes became lost in thought. After a while, he smiled and responded: “I have nothing to forget. Pain or happiness… whether it is a pain etched deep in one’s bones or a happiness that warms the heart, all of these are experiences of mine throughout the long years. I am most reluctant to recall the moments of happiness rather than those of pain. I haven’t forgotten, I just don’t want to think about them…”
With that, Li Qiye slowly rode his wooden horse away. His long shadow contained an indescribable loneliness that others couldn’t understand.
After he left, the duck looked up at the sky and murmured: “Old sentiments will eventually fade… Is it because of emotion or apathy…?” The duck was overwhelmed by Li Qiye’s words.
After a very long time, it regained its composure and smiled. In this moment, it felt relief and everything became as ephemeral as the wind in the sky. It chose to forget the past.
It squatted back down in its stone nest and turned into stone once more. From then on, it was a statue without emotions, without a past, and without any distractions!
Li Qiye was a bit lost after leaving the duck’s place; he aimlessly rode the wooden horse away. The duck’s words dredged up some of his memories.
The eons have been so long. He had met so many people and experienced so many things. He couldn’t forget some of them. Just like he had said, rather than forgetting, he chose not to remember. However, some of these memories had been engraved deep in his heart, never letting him find solace.
To an indestructible being like him, pain was nothing to be afraid of. He dared to confront any physical pain and even soul torture. However, memories of happiness had turned into a different kind of agony!
These happy memories were unforgettable; even though the people were no longer here, he continued to live on. This was the price of eternal life!
After a while, he calmed down and smiled bitterly before murmuring to himself: “How strange, since when did I become so sentimental? The past has already gone by, I can only walk forward. I will not look back, for I am Li Qiye!”
At this second, he threw away all of his doubts and the past.
“Let’s march towards the destination. I must reap success in this generation!” At this time, the Li Qiye that loomed over the world had returned. His eyes focused on a particular direction as he hastened the wooden horse forward!
He was advancing towards the deepest part of the Drystone Courtyard. Along the way, the force of petrification became even more powerful. Moreover, there were very few stone statues in the area. People who were capable of making it to here were either Emperor Assailants or Immortal Emperors themselves!
At this depth, there were no more stones. Even Emperor Assailants wouldn’t be able to escape the fate of being turned into stone here. Eventually, Li Qiye stopped because before him was a vast darkness. It was not the type of darkness from hell nor was it the type that would devour all things.
It was a unique and unapproachable type of darkness… Petrification Darkness! Because at this place, time had been frozen and the same could be said for space. Even the universal laws of the grand dao had been petrified!
Because of this, all had been turned into stone, rendering this place completely dark. Even the dark rays of light were petrified.
However, with careful observation, one would be able to find flashing glimmers in the deepest part of this dark expanse. It seemed that there was something over there. Moreover, it was an entire group of things.
People who stood here would come to realize that the petrification power of the courtyard most likely came from this place. Even deities and emperors would be frozen here.
Li Qiye stood before it and murmured: “What a terrifying force. The world would never believe this. Perhaps even Immortal Emperors would not be able to bear it after walking inside.”
He stared at the deepest part of this darkness. Inside was a mystery that he must try to obtain!
“All the Immortal Emperors have failed. However, I must be successful this generation, I’ll never give up!” Li Qiye slowly uttered while glaring at the darkness.
At this point, all of his confidence from the past had no clout because he had tried again and again to no avail.
In fact, he was not the only one that had failed. Empress Hong Tian had been here before, the same with Immortal Emperor Min Ren and Immortal Emperor Wan Shi… All of the emperors who came here went to this place to give it a shot.
Emperors were invincible in the eyes of the world; there was nothing that they couldn’t do. However, the truth was that even emperors failed to succeed in this act!