In the extreme reaches of the wintry north, frost and snow that hadn’t melted in a hundred thousand years threatened to freeze time itself.
A crisp birdcall broke through the desolate void of the cloudy sky. Rainbow light flashed over snowy ground as a a mythological luan bird abruptly appeared in the skies. A sighting of this creature indicated peace, and its outward appearance resembled that of a phoenix.
A charming girl perched on top of the luan. She softly patted the bird’s neck. “This is it.”
Excitement brimmed in her eyes and she looked around, seemingly murmuring to herself. “It’s been a hundred thousand years. Has big sis been contemplating dao in such a harshly frigid environment? She’s too ruthless to herself!”
In the far north, a snowy wind bit into the skin like blades, but this girl was dressed in only downy-yellow chiffon. It seemed that there was a halo around her that kept out the elements.
“Hehe, junior brother Mu, are you still refusing to come out?” The girl’s giggles tinkled, and her tone even sweeter.
“Senior sister Hui’er.” A warm voice traveled out from empty space as the sound of cracking earth rustled beneath the snow.
The incredible happened next.
The thick layer of of permafrost around the girl slowly broke open, cracks spiderwebbing through the earth.
When they spanned thousands of meters, shoots of young growth appeared within the cracks, stubbornly yearning towards life after countless eons of slumber.
The girl blinked, then swiftly understood. She chuckled. “Junior brother Mu, nice rejuvenation technique you got there. It looks like your powers of creation can awaken even this barren, arctic land. Your cultivation’s improved yet again.”
As they conversed, the young shoots grew at a speed visible to the eye, covering the ground with verdant growth over the span of a few breaths.
A young man slowly walked out of the lush undergrowth, as if a wood sprite. The air of divine deliverance wreathed about him, exuding boundless life force.
The passage of a hundred thousand years left no mark on his body. He was precisely the premier genius of the Regal Pill Palace—Mu Gaoqi.
And the girl was his peer, Ling Hui’er.
Countless days had passed, but the two remained the same as they always were.
“Man, look at you. Doing all this as soon as you see me! Are you trying to take me down a peg?”
“Senior sister Hui’er, this younger brother isn’t putting on airs. It’s just that I heard you say senior sister Bi’er’s been meditating here for a hundred thousand years. My hands itched for a second and I wanted to sense senior sister through my divine arts. But alas, I couldn’t perceive her existence! It would seem that senior sister’s cultivation level is much higher than mine!”
Mu Gaoqi sighed, but the joy of reconvening with old friends was written on his face, rather than disappointment.
Lin Hui’er glanced at the man and heaved a long sigh. “A hundred thousand years. Big sis sealed herself in for meditation, and all of you had your own business. Only I pointlessly whiled away the years.”
“What makes you say that, senior sister? Being carefree and forthright, having no care in the world… that is the ultimate state that cultivators strive for. I’m foolish and have always been obsessed with pill and martial dao. How do I in any way measure up to senior sister’s natural and dashing elegance?”
Mu Gaoqi had meant his response as polite pleasantry, but they actually sent Ling Hui’er into contemplation.
No care in the world?
Did she really have no cares in the world?
As the conversation went on, a small blizzard kicked up and gathered strength. The new growth was swiftly covered, as was the cracked earth. All was white between heaven and earth, and the two seemed to have returned to an emptiness of snow and ice.
Ling Hui’er tightened her clothes around her and Mu Gaoqi frowned faintly.
How were they unable to withstand this chilly air, given their cultivation levels? It seemed the very heavens were bearing down disapprovingly.
“What’s going on?”
Bafflement flashed between their eyes as they looked at each other. When they looked around again, an even more mystifying event occurred.
The snowy-white peaks around them rose and fell, a multitude of illusions constantly shifting and morphing into incredulous sights. The past hundred thousand years seem to converge in this instant and blink through reality.
Vast oceans turned into mulberry fields, which then grew into tall mountains. Towering peaks eroded into flat plains, which then materialized villages. Villages evolved into cities, which then fell into ruins. And the ruins slowly decayed into barren wasteland…
A hundred thousand years flew by in front of their eyes.
Suddenly, time stopped. The illusions dancing in front of them halted as well.
Wind gusted and snow swirled again, as if it were all a dream.
It was still a world of ice and frost before them.
In an inconspicuous corner on a peak touching the clouds stood a proud plum blossom flower. It seemed to have just bloomed, or maybe it’d been blooming for a hundred thousand years, bearing witness to the loneliness of passing age and isolation of time.
“Ai!” Ling Hui’er sighed softly. “Big sis still isn’t willing to come out and see us in the end. She hasn’t worked through the knot in her heart yet.”
Mu Gaoqi remained silent. He naturally knew what it was. He tilted his head back to look up into the boundless sky. The towering figure to be found somewhere in the void didn’t only weigh on the Ling sisters’ hearts, but was a legend in his as well.
On his celestial emperor throne outside the void, Jiang Chen’s eyes abruptly opened. His gaze seemed to pierce through the veil of space and rest on the plum blossom flower, blooming all by its lonesome on that high peak.
A wise smile spread across his face. “I fulfill the promise of a lifetime when the plum blossom blooms. Senior sister Bi’er, you’ve spent a hundred thousand years on nurturing this patch of unparalleled beauty! How do I possibly deserve this honor?”
With that said, he split open time and space with a casual wave and leapt into the opening…
Fin. The End.