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Chapter 7

She was carried like a sack by the war ghost, motionless, and it was unclear whether she was alive or dead.

Yuan Zhong pondered for a moment, then slowly smiled. “She’s just a mortal; does the war ghost clan need to resort to such brutal methods?”

No one spoke. The war ghost clan was accustomed to fighting when encountering enemies. If they couldn’t win, they would die without saying a word.

The six of them swung their long whips together, smashing towards where Yuan Zhong stood. Long whips were the most commonly used weapons of the war ghost clan. Because of their flexibility and tremendous force, when the six long whips hit the ground, it almost felt like they were about to overturn the mountain. The ground trembled, and a cloud of dust rose, obscuring the view.

Yuan Zhong had already slipped to the side. Seeing Tanyin being thrown to the ground with what seemed to be a wound still bleeding on her back, he hesitated for a moment, preparing to lift her up.

Suddenly, a strong wind came from behind, and he immediately turned into a golden light and flashed away. Just then, the thick whip smashed right next to Tanyin, sending her flying and then crashing to the ground, rolling countless times. Large patches of blood splattered on the ground, and it was uncertain whether she would survive.

What pity for such a beautiful woman, he sighed inwardly. He had originally suspected her identity, fearing that she might have some ulterior motive against the Fox clan. Unexpectedly, she died like this, which was quite regrettable.

The six long whips seemed to have eyes, and the agility of the war ghosts was truly frightening. Wherever he hid, he would be found in an instant. He had no doubt that if he were licked by the whip, he might lose half of his life. Last time when he went to deal with Li Zhaoyang, just a casual swing of the opponent’s Fangtian halberd cost him his right hand. Fortunately, his skill in escaping was superb.

“Boom!” was another loud noise, and a small piece of the forest was flattened. Yuan Zhong continued to sigh. War ghosts—just by hearing their name, one could tell that they were good at fighting. And what about them? Foxes, what a joke!

Just hearing it made them sound weak, and he happened to be from the Fox clan, the least adept at fighting. Killing all day long—how uncouth.

He had intended to sneak away quietly, but there were six opponents, and his hope was faint. He lowered his head and pulled the black silk glove from his left hand, knowing that he would have to unleash a massacre today.

Although the war ghosts had tremendous killing power, this hilltop was almost leveled, but the fox escaped faster, and no matter how they swung their long whips, they couldn’t catch him.

The leader of the war ghosts felt somewhat irritated. They preferred quick battles and face-to-face confrontations. Encountering someone who only knew how to run was quite frustrating.

The smoke and dust blocked their sight, and they couldn’t perceive where that dead fox had hidden again. The war ghost leader swung his long whip flatly, cutting through the smoke, and many trees in the forest were broken. Looking around, there was no one.

Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of a flickering red light to his left, vaguely seeing a figure. He was greatly surprised and immediately swung his whip, but to his astonishment, the whip was grabbed effortlessly by that person. Looking closely, it was indeed that fox priest. His black robe was covered in dust, and his face was also dusty, looking quite disheveled. However, he grabbed the long whip with ease, smiling leisurely.

“Be careful; don’t trip,” Yuan Zhong reminded him with a smile.

The war ghost leader’s pupils contracted, about to step forward to attack, but unexpectedly, it felt like his feet were suddenly nailed to the ground, and he fell heavily.

Astonished, he looked down and found that his feet were covered in ice, and this layer of ice was rapidly freezing upwards from his ankles, freezing both legs in an instant.

“You fur beast!” He cursed angrily, intending to retract the long whip in his hand and strike, but the whip snapped into several pieces—it was frozen too! He looked up angrily, about to roar, but before he could, he was already encased in ice, unable to move.

The other five war ghosts had already moved upon hearing the sound. Their long whips, accompanied by sharp winds, swung over, but Yuan Zhong lightly pressed his left hand on the ground, turning into a golden light again, and in the blink of an eye, he flashed to a distant place.

His evasive behavior had long annoyed everyone, so the war ghosts simply threw down their whips and rushed towards the strong scent—when someone from the Fox clan was injured and bleeding, they emitted a fragrance. That dead fox must be injured.

To their surprise, the soles of their feet gradually began to stick to the ground until they could no longer take another step. Only then did they realize that the ground had formed a thick layer of ice, freezing their feet in place. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t pull them out. What was even more terrifying was that the ice was slowly creeping up their calves, causing a numbing sensation.

As the smoke gradually cleared, Yuan Zhong’s black robe fluttered loudly in the wind. He stood not far away, and in front of him, extending to the edge of the forest, was an area of several dozen meters covered in thick ice, with even Tanyin frozen within.

His face was cut, with a gash from his forehead to his chin and blood staining half his face. However, the eye that was exposed sparkled brightly, with an elongated, uplifted corner, showing no sign of distress.

At that moment, the other five war ghosts were completely frozen in ice, with only one person left with half his head exposed. His blood-red eyes stared fiercely at Yuan Zhong as he rasped, “What sorcery is this…”

Yuan Zhong replied calmly, “No one knows, not even me. Apart from myself and Li Zhaoyang, no one who has witnessed it has survived. So, please rest assured, I will pray for the six of you.”

With that, he folded his hands and bowed silently.

Only then did the war ghosts notice that the black silk glove on his left hand had been removed at some point, and both the back of his hand and his arm were a dark red. He was about to shout in anger, but the next moment, ice and snow covered him, freezing him forever in the ice, unable to move.

Yuan Zhong closed his eyes and folded his hands, silently reciting a prayer.

After what seemed like an eternity, he slowly opened his eyes, looking at the six war ghosts frozen in ice. He breathed a sigh of relief, suddenly remembering something. With an “Ah,” he ran to the ice and indeed found Tanyin frozen within.

Now she might die, even if she wasn’t already dead. Yuan Zhong squatted down and touched her face through the ice. The poor beauty was dying with blood all over her face, not knowing if she was disfigured.

“Sorry,” he murmured softly.

“I couldn’t save you. I’ll come back in a few days to collect your remains and send you back to your hometown in peace.”

There was a broken, colorful pinwheel stained with blood on her chest, a gift from him before. Such a pretty girl, dying like this by accident. Yuan Zhong sighed sorrowfully, brushed off the dust from his body, and walked away.

Tanyin slowly opened her eyes, feeling only one sensation all over her body: coldness.

She tried to move her hands and feet, but her body seemed to be frozen, unable to move at all. The intense pain on her back and head made her alert; she feared that this body might have suffered fatal injuries. Below her left knee, she couldn’t feel anything, wondering if it was broken.

She couldn’t let this body die.

She opened her mouth and gently blew a breath, causing the ice that encased her body to immediately shatter like powder. She struggled to sit up; both of her hands seemed to be broken, her fingers moving incessantly. Her forehead seemed to be fractured too, blood staining her vision and making it hard to see the surroundings, which were dimly felt to be extremely cold, with ice everywhere within reach.

Ice… She suddenly realized something and wiped away the blood from her eyes with her sleeve, looking around. Within a radius of about a dozen meters, the area was covered in thick snow and ice, with seemingly six people also frozen within the ice. This wasn’t ordinary ice. Perhaps in this mortal world, no one was more familiar with the power and dominance covered by this ice and snow than her.

Those were Taihe’s hands.

Tanyin’s mind was in turmoil. With a sudden exertion, she stood up, but her left leg immediately felt weak, and she fell heavily once again.

Taihe… She touched the cold ice with emotion after five thousand years, finally seeing this dead ice sea again.

All around was quiet, with only the mountain wind brushing lightly. Tanyin looked around despondently. The surrounding mountains were distorted, large areas of forests were flattened, and apart from the six war ghosts frozen in ice, there was not a single soul around. That cunning fox priest must have escaped unscathed.

She had been too careless. With such a situation, how could she return to the side of the High Priest? How could she explain it clearly?

Tell him that she wasn’t actually frozen? Or that she miraculously survived? Such lies even a three-year-old wouldn’t believe, let alone the High Priest, who seems like a warm-hearted person yet cold-hearted, intelligent, and suspicious.

But the most pressing issue now is not this. This body had almost half of its bones shattered; she didn’t know if it could still function in the future.

Tanyin lay down weakly, slowly closing her eyes. The fractured forehead slowly closed, and the broken legs and arms began to swell slowly. After half an hour, she slowly crawled up from the ground. Apart from the shocking bloodstains on her face and body, she had fully recovered.

She touched her chest, which was icy cold; this body was still dead, and the heart had stopped beating. Even if the body was repaired, it would start to decay soon. The scene was naturally terrifying.

Tanyin sighed deeply, covering her face with both hands, enveloped in a cool white light. From a distance, she looked like a beautiful little moon, shining brightly.

After a while, the sky gradually darkened. Tanyin slowly got up, surveying the surroundings. There had been a fierce battle here, and the terrain had changed. Coupled with the six war ghosts frozen in ice, if discovered by someone else, it would spell trouble.

She rummaged in her Qiankun bag for a while, taking out a thumb-sized gadget, white and translucent, shaped like a snail shell. It was the exquisite and delicate miniature house she had made while alive, a skill even her father didn’t possess, capable of crafting such tiny, exquisite houses.

She tossed the miniature house out, and it grew in the wind, instantly swallowing up half of the small hill. Gradually, it became transparent and merged with the gentle night. The mountain wind still blew, and the trees still murmured, but the deformed terrain and the bodies of the war ghosts frozen in ice were nowhere to be seen.

Tanyin turned and left. Suddenly, something colorful fell out of her arms; it was the broken little windmill from earlier.

She flicked it, and it swayed and spun again. She remembered the first time she saw Taihe, sitting by the Milky Way, playing with a similar colorful windmill in his hands.

She also remembered leaving Han Nu’s tears, and if Taihe were awake, he wouldn’t want to see her crying.

She also remembered silently guarding for five thousand years. Five thousand years had passed, but she hadn’t changed; nothing had changed.

Tanyin sighed and raised her hand, tossing the little windmill away.

“In the lush and verdant fields, there he resides. Upon seeing the noble one, joy and dignity ensue. Drifting on the broad boat through ups and downs. Upon seeing the noble one, my heart finds peace.”

This was her choice, and it was also the last thing she could do for him.

In this world of chaos, amidst countless separations and farewells, from the highest heavens to the depths of the underworld, many pairs meet but cannot stay together. Yet she could do the most important thing for Taihe. She was already fortunate in that regard.

(End of this chapter.)

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