Chapter 925 - The Unexpected Truth
The area east of Floating Cloud City had originally been a land of hills and mountains but because of the Divine Phoenix Army, it had been flattened into a wide expanse of flat plains.
Even though Yun Che had grown up in Floating Cloud City, he had never been to this place before he reached sixteen years of age. There were many low level profound beasts which existed around the hills and mountains. If Xiao Lingxi or Xia Yuanba accompanied him, Xiao Lie would not restrict him from venturing into those places. But the one place that Xiao Lie absolutely would not let him and Xiao Lingxi explore was the mountainous region east of Floating Cloud City. Perhaps it was because it was too far from Floating Cloud City, so Xiao Lie would not have been able to stop worrying about their safety if they went.
Yun Che arrived in the skies above this place as he quickly expanded the range of his spiritual perception thereby covering the entire area which the Divine Phoenix Army had trampled.
Even though it was very faint, Yun Che could still faintly sense that a sealing profound formation had been set up on these lands. It was very clear that after the Divine Phoenix Sect had discovered the purple crystal deposit in this place, the first thing they did was to lay down an invisible isolation barrier in order to prevent other parties from detecting the aura given off by the purple crystals.
But what was strange was that even though his spiritual perception expanded to cover a full ten kilometer radius, he could not sense the aura of any purple crystals.
The Divine Phoenix Sect had been without a doubt extremely careful and cautious when it came to this matter. So they had swept this place clean and had not left behind any traces of their activities. After all, to the Divine Phoenix Sect of that time, the consequences would have been nothing short of disastrous if their activities had been discovered by the Four Sacred Grounds.
After he descended from the skies above and stepped onto the flattened ground, Yun Che stood there with sunken brows as he pondered the situation. But he was still unable to figure out how there could be fifty kilograms of Purple Veined Divine Crystal lying beneath this ground.
Previously, this doubt had briefly flashed through his mind but far too many things had happened after that, so the suspicions he had over these Purple Veined Divine Crystals had been shoved to the back of his mind. But while he was dealing with Xuanyuan Wentian, he suddenly discovered something that was definitely highly irregular—even if these fifty kilograms of Purple Veined Divine Crystal were buried deep below the ground, they would still definitely give off an extraordinary profound crystal aura. It was already extremely unusual that the Four Sacred Grounds had not discovered such a deposit. But in addition to that, the members of Sun Moon Divine Hall and Mighty Heavenly Sword Region had paid a visit to Floating Cloud City twenty four years ago while they were in hot pursuit of his parents, Yun Qinghong and Mu Yurou… It was also at that time that harm befell Xiao Ying.
If they had merely briefly visited the city, one could still barely swallow the idea that they had not discovered the crystal deposit. But after they arrived at Floating Cloud City, they had clearly swept across the surrounding area for many days, they had practically dug up the entire landscape. Given the strength of the spiritual perceptions of people on the level of the Sacred Grounds, why had they not detected such a large and high-grade purple crystal deposit at all?
Furthermore, the people sent to chase and capture Yun Qinghong and Mu Yurou were definitely all individuals who had reached the level of Monarch… and the contingent from Mighty Heavenly Sword Region had even been personally led by their young master, Xuanyuan Wendao.
Could it be that this purple crystal deposit had not existed at that time?
No… that definitely was not possible. It required an extremely long time to form such a gigantic purple crystal deposit, so how could this have been formed in the short span of a little over twenty years?
Other than that, according to his spiritual perception and depth of the ground that had been covertly dug up, this purple crystal deposit had not been buried too deeply. On the contrary, Yun Che would even say that it had been buried rather near the surface. The spot that was nearest to the surface was a little more than sixty meters in depth—At that time, the Divine Phoenix Army had dispatched an army two hundred thousand strong to garrison this place, disguising the sounds of the shallow parts of the purple crystal deposit being mined by performing their “act” every day and causing a huge ruckus.
Yun Che stood in that spot for a very long time but he just could not puzzle this conundrum out. If one were to see that the Four Sacred Grounds had never discovered this purple crystal deposit because they had never visited this place even once in the past few millennia, then one could still barely swallow that explanation. But if one were to say that the brains and senses of all of the members of the Sacred Grounds who had visited Floating Cloud City had completely short-circuited… that was an explanation that was simply unacceptable.
Just as Yun Che was considering whether he wanted to delve into the depths of the mountainous regions, a figure suddenly appeared in the west. That person leisurely and slowly strolled towards where Yun Che was standing.
Yun Che’s gaze swivelled and he caught sight of an old man of medium build and with a kindly looking face. His eyes jumped as he took to the air and landed in front of that old man, “Grandpa Hong, why would you suddenly be interested in coming to this place?”
The old man’s footsteps ground to a halt before a small smile appeared on his face, “Ah, so it was the Youngest Master. Ah, it is about time to offer sacrifices at Madam’s grave again. So the Master wanted me to pick some of the orchids that Madam loved so much. Youngest Master, why have you come to this place?”
Within the Xiao Family, Yun Che respected Xiao Lie the most but the person who came right after Xiao Lie was the person standing in front of him, Xiao Hong. Xiao Hong was originally not someone who belonged to the Xiao Family. He was someone who had been rescued by Xiao Lie’s father while he was adventuring. Xiao Lie’s father had brought him back to the Xiao Family after that. He changed his family name to Xiao. He had protected and taken care of Xiao Lie ever since Xiao Lie was young and he was also fiercely loyal to Xiao Lie. During Yun Che and Xia Qingyue’s wedding, it had also been Xiao Hong who had accompanied and escorted Yun Che to receive his bride.
When the day came to offer sacrifices to his deceased wife came every year, Xiao Lie would always bring along a big bouquet of orchids. Because these were the flowers that his deceased wife had loved the most. This was something that Yun Che and Xiao Lingxi had known since their childhood.
“I was just seized by a momentary fancy, so I came to take a look,” Yun Che said as he surveyed the surrounding area. “It looks like there aren’t any orchids around here. How about Grandpa Hong and I go to another area to find them?”
“That’s okay.” Xiao Hong smiled as he shook his head, “Presently, the youngest master already has a body that is practically priceless, so how can I ask you to accompany me to perform such a rough and lowly task. In the past, orchids could be found everywhere in this vicinity. But ever since the Divine Phoenix Army arrived in this place, it has been completely flattened and it seems like the orchids have also become rather hard to find. Sigh.”
“Ah, so those orchids from years past were always harvested from this place,” Yun Che said in a rather touched manner. “Speaking of which, Grandfather never let me or Little Aunt come here and play throughout our early years, so I do not even know what this place looked like before.”
“Hoho, but of course,” Xiao Hong said with a chuckle. After that, he spoke in a sentimental voice, “After all, this is a place of sadness for the Master. So even he very rarely came here after that happened?”
“A place of sadness?” Yun Che asked with mild astonishment. “What exactly happened in this place? Why would it be a place of sadness for Grandfather?”
“Oh?” An astonished expression appeared on Xiao Hong’s face, “Could it be that the Master still hasn’t told Youngest Master yet? Oh… Hoho, well that can’t be helped. Master definitely would not bring this kind of thing up to the both of you. After all, this is also the place that brings the most pain to Master’s heart.”
“...” Yun Che sensed that something was amiss and he continued to ask, “Grandpa Hong, what exactly happened in this place? Why would this be the place that brings the most pain to Grandfather’s heart? If you know about this, could you please tell me in the greatest detail possible? After all, I’m no longer the small child that I used to be all those years ago. After I find out, it might just be possible that I could think of a way to help Grandfather walk out from under the dark shadow cast by this place.”
To his surprise, Xiao Hong shook his head, “There’s no helping it. After all, the dead remain buried. However, there’s nothing wrong with telling Youngest Master about this affair. After all, Youngest Master has already become such an incredible person.”
“Youngest Master, are you aware of the circumstances in which Madam passed away all those years ago?” Xiao Hong suddenly asked.
Yun Che replied, “Uncle Xiao Ying had been killed by malicious means all those years ago and his wife wasted away while pining for him. Furthermore, no one was aware of whether their child was even dead or alive. The impact Grandmother received from these events was too great and the sorrow in her heart ate away at her body like an illness. So she passed away due to melancholy not too long after she gave birth to Little Aunt… Even though this wasn’t something that Grandfather told me himself, this is a story that is well-known in the Xiao Family and the entire Floating Cloud City. Could it be that there is still something hidden as well?”
Before he turned sixteen, Yun Che had never once suspected that Xiao Lie’s wife had taken ill due to her melancholy and had died from sadness after she had given birth to Xiao Lingxi. However, after he turned sixteen, he returned with the memories of his life in the Azure Cloud Continent, so the medical knowledge he had acquired had naturally caused some doubts to form in his mind.
As the saying goes, women are weak and delicate but they become strong as steel once they become mothers. Even though the pain of losing her son pierced into the innermost depths of her heart, Xiao Lie’s wife would definitely have transferred all of her attention and love to her newborn daughter once she had given birth to Lingxi. And no matter how much pain she still bore in her heart, she would have tried her best to turn that pain into strength—this was not only a mother’s instinct, it was also the grandest thing about motherhood.
So she definitely would not have cast aside her daughter and “passed away from sadness,” no matter what happened.
Besides, she definitely was not alone and isolated at that time. There was still Xiao Lie, whom she was madly in love with, by her side.
So, whether it was medical diagnosis or human nature, it was highly unlikely that Xiao Lie’s wife would have “passed away from sadness.” There had to be other reasons as well. For example… she could have died due to an actual illness?
Xiao Hong gazed at the eastern patch of flattened hills as he slowly recounted the story to Yun Che, “During those years, Young Master Xiao Ying had died from an evil scheme and Youngest Master was missing as well. Everything seemed to be going downhill and Madam was heavily affected by those events. Her face was bathed in tears every single day. Furthermore, she had just gotten pregnant at the time, so the Master was afraid that her sorrow would be too excessive and might end up harming her body and her baby. So he did his best to comfort her and cheer her up every single day… Sigh, how could the Master also not be filled with sorrow and pain at that time? However, his feelings for Madam were indeed deep to the bone.”
Yun Che, “...”
“When Madam had carried Miss Lingxi for six months, it just so happened that the orchids in this place were in full bloom. Orchids were the flowers that Madam loved the most, so the Master brought Madam to this place to admire the blooming orchid flowers. He planned to use this to soothe a bit of the pain she felt from losing her son. At that time, I had also tagged along to serve and accompany them.”
“Madam’s mood did indeed turn better as morning faded to night and this was a rare sight indeed. But just as the Master was about to escort Madam back to Floating Cloud City, an unforeseen mishap suddenly occured.”
“What mishap?” Yun Che immediately asked.
“Madam… was suddenly struck by a bolt of lightning.” The scene he had witnessed had occurred over twenty years ago but when Xiao Hong thought of it right now, his expression still turned into one of trembling fear.
“Struck by… a bolt of lightning?” Yun Che had been struck dumb and for a moment, his brain could not process the words he had just heard, “What do you mean? How did she just suddenly get… struck by lightning?”
“The Master and I simply could not puzzle it out either,” Xiao Hong said with a sigh of lament. “The orchids were in full bloom and the blue sky seemed to stretch on forever. Moreover, there wasn’t even a single cloud in the sky, so there definitely weren’t any dark clouds in the vicinity. However, a bolt of lightning suddenly fell from the sky and so happened to strike Madam’s body… Furthermore, that bolt of lightning was strangely black in color.”
“...Black in color!?”
“That is right. The Master and I saw it very clearly. It was indeed a black bolt of lightning and it was the first time either the Master or I had seen such a thing in our lives. Its color was as incredibly bizarre as its sudden appearance. At that time, the Master thought someone was trying to assassinate him and that the villain who killed Xiao Ying had come back to tie up all the loose ends. He searched the area in frantic fury but there wasn’t anyone on these hilly slopes but the three of us. Also, no further incidents occurred after that.”
“What happened after that? What happened to Grandmother after she was struck by that bolt of black lightning?” Yun Che asked in an urgent voice as his brows knit together tightly.
It was already extremely unusual for lightning to strike when the sky was clear. If Yun Che had witnessed it, his first reaction would have been to assume it was artificial. Moreover, black-colored lightning… The basic color of lightning profound energy was purple. Once his Yun Family’s Purple Cloud Art had reached an extremely high level, the lightning it produced would turn red. But no matter whether it was the Profound Sky Continent, the Illusory Demon Realm or the Azure Cloud Continent of the past, he had never seen or heard of any person or any sect who was able to create lightning which was pitch-black in color.
But when Fen Juechen and Xuanyuan Wentian released their darkness profound energy, extremely compressed darkness profound energy would at times turn into lightning-shaped profound light beams. So when one saw it, it would look like black lightning… But there was basically no darkness profound energy which existed on the Profound Sky Continent of more than twenty years ago. The Moon Slaughter Devil Sovereign, the only one who could use darkness profound energy, was securely trapped in the Moon Slaughter Devil Nest which wasn’t even on the continent in the first place.
“After being struck by lightning, Madam fainted dead away and fell into a coma for a full three days before finally waking up. However the weirdest thing was that there were no traces of any wounds inflicted by lightning on Madam’s body. But after that, Madam’s body became exceptionally weak and she was frequently affected by fainting spells during the day while nightmares plagued her sleep at night. The Master looked for all the famous doctors near and far and he tried using various remedies, great and small, to strengthen Madam’s body. But it was all to no avail. After that, Madam’s pregnancy reached a whole thirteen months before Miss Lingxi was finally born. After Lingxi was born, Madam’s body steadily deteriorated and it was not long before she passed from this world…”