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Chapter 20

Tanyin found that she didn’t hate the smile in his eyes at all. The former high priest had always been so frivolous yet cautious. Even when he laughed heartily, his eyes remained cold. Now, it seemed like the ice had melted; even when he frowned, his eyes were smiling.

Seeing her staring at him with a silly grin, Yuan Zhong felt a bit embarrassed. He lightly flicked her forehead with his finger, his face stern. “What are you laughing at, idiot? Say something.”

Tanyin looked confused. “Say what?”

Yuan Zhong felt exasperated.

“I told you my name! Such an impolite girl!”

Tanyin stared at him blankly, watching his face turn pale, then red, then white again, and finally green as he ground his teeth.

Suddenly, she understood.

“Yuan Zhong,” she said with a slight smile.

His green face immediately returned to normal, and he looked both flustered and proud.

He snorted dismissively. “I want to get up. Please step out for a moment.”

As Tanyin left the room, Yuan Zhong exhaled a long breath, looking down at his left hand, which was encased in a strange crystal.

He still didn’t understand what this crystal was. Since birth, he has inherited this left hand, which is almost invincible and unstoppable. Now it was sealed, and its power could no longer be exerted. This change was no less than earth-shaking. Perhaps he should start to consider what kind of mentality he should have after giving up this powerful left hand.

He was no longer alone; he had Ji Tanyin by his side, and he needed to protect her well. What happened last night could not be allowed to happen again.

He changed into clean clothes. Seeing the blood-stained garments and bedding, he recalled the harrowing events of the previous night.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door, and Tanyin’s voice called out, “Your Highness, the high pris—Yuan Zhong, can I come in?”

He quickly checked his reflection in the bronze mirror. His hair was neat, and his clothes were in order. He bundled the bloody clothes and bedding into a corner and opened the door to find Tanyin holding a wooden box with a hammer, a copper drill, and other things. A sudden and terrifying thought struck him, making his face change color.

“What are you going to do?” he asked, stammering.

Tanyin placed a white cloth over her chest and took out another piece of white cloth from her qiankun bag, gently draping it over his chest.

“I’m going to remove the divine crystal from your left hand.”

Yuan Zhong looked at her skeptically.

“Can you do it?”

Those tools made him worry she might break his hand.

Tanyin patted his shoulder reassuringly and pushed him to sit on a chair, taking his crystal-covered left hand into hers and examining it closely.

“Don’t worry, not a scratch will be left.”

If she didn’t have this confidence, she wouldn’t be known as an unparalleled craftsman.

She put on dragon-leather gloves and took out various bottles and jars from her qiankun bag, applying some strange-colored liquids here, heating them with fire there, and sprinkling black powder at intervals. After busying herself for nearly half an hour, she took the copper drill, positioned it at the thickest part of the divine crystal in his palm, and lightly tapped it with the hammer. With a crisp crack, a fissure appeared in the black-gray inferior divine crystal.

Fortunately, it wasn’t superior divine crystal; otherwise, it would have been more troublesome.

Yuan Zhong remained silent, watching her work intently. Her porcelain-like chin and pretty nose tip were adorned with a tiny bead of sweat. Her thick hair was tied in a slightly old-fashioned bun, with two strands hanging by her ears, glowing with a hint of transparent red under the sunlight. Her long eyelashes fluttered gracefully, and her elegant eyes were entirely focused on his left hand.

He knew this wasn’t her real body; the true Ji Tanyin looked different. He tried to see through her appearance to her true self but couldn’t discern anything.

Yuan Zhong lowered his head slightly, trying to see her eyes. Eyes never lied, and no matter how she changed her appearance, those eyes would remain the same.

She had eyes like black gemstones, with a focused gaze that wasn’t seductive or enchanting but rather cool and aloof. Yet when she worked on something, her eyes burned with a passion that seemed to ignite her very soul.

He suddenly remembered the night he was gravely injured, drifting in and out of consciousness, seeing those mesmerizing eyes that haunted his dreams.

His hand twitched, making Tanyin think she had hurt him. She quickly held his hand gently.

“Don’t move.”

He said nothing, lowering his gaze. Then, as if unwilling to give up, he raised his eyes again, staring into hers. His heart pounded as if it would burst from his chest, his hand trembling involuntarily.

Tanyin stopped and looked at him in surprise.

“Did I hurt you?”

Yuan Zhong slowly shook his head, supporting his forehead with his right hand, his wide sleeve covering his face. His voice was low and slightly hoarse. “…No, keep going.”

The divine crystal on his left hand was soon completely removed.

Tanyin carefully collected the fragments and placed them in the wooden box, scooping a bowl of water and blowing gently on it before pouring it into the box. The black-gray fragments expanded rapidly, turning into a sticky, paste-like substance.

She carefully sealed the wooden box and put it back into her qiankun bag.

“Alright, you can test if your hand works as before.” Tanyin’s face was beaming, her eyes shining with the pride and satisfaction of an artisan.

Yuan Zhong examined his dark red left hand, clenching and unclenching it. After a while, he said softly, “…Yes, it’s just like before.”

Tanyin shook her head.

“Try summoning the ice.”

He lowered his hand from his forehead and smiled.

“I only use that on people.”

She pointed at herself.

“Use it on me; try it.”

He looked at her with amusement, raising his left hand and slowly placing it on her head. But instead of summoning any power, his hand gently caressed her hair, sliding down to the back of her head.

He leaned in as if to embrace her, stopping with his lips three inches from her ear.

“But I suddenly…” Suddenly, he couldn’t bear to.

He looked at the soft black hair at her neck, feeling an urge to kneel before her, to devoutly kiss her feet, yet also wanting to crush her false appearance to see the true her beneath.

Was it her? Was it not her? He didn’t believe it; he couldn’t believe it; everything about her was so elusive.

He felt as though his stopped time had started moving again, like a clogged hourglass suddenly flowing. Three decades ago, the time that had stopped passing on the Guixuan Platform suddenly began to move in strands, and the young man’s spiritual orifices were opened up. The time that had left him restless and sleepless seemed to be passing once more.

Is this liberation? Or ecstasy? He still wasn’t sure. Perhaps it was all just an illusion.

Tanyin watched him withdraw his hand in confusion. He stood up, put his black silk glove back on, stretched, and then turned to smile at her.

“You said that thing was a divine crystal. Do you recognize it?”

Just a moment ago, his face had been saying, “I have something to say,” but in the blink of an eye, it changed. Are men always this strange?

“Yes, I recognize it. It’s a very rare material,” she answered honestly.

“But this is the lowest grade. If they used the highest-grade divine crystal, it would take me two or three days to clean it up.”

Yuan Zhong’s eyes sparkled with amusement.

“Divine crystal, is it… something from the gods?”

Tan Yin opened her mouth to answer, but suddenly seemed to realize something and quickly shook her head.

“No, it comes from the desolate mountains in the far west.”

…Clearly, her parents had not taught her how to lie properly.

Yuan Zhong didn’t bother to expose her lie. He pushed open the window and looked at the bustling crowd outside. Because of the appearance of the god last night, Yan City was filled with immortals and demons. Even many ordinary people from neighboring counties had come to join the excitement.

Everyone was talking about the god and speculating who the god’s call of “Wushuang” referred to.

Many immortals had even started recruiting disciples on the streets, claiming they were looking for someone named “Wushuang” born in Yan city to connect with the god.

After watching for a while, he turned back and said, “It’s time to leave Yan City.”

Tanyin was about to take out materials to continue making the Lucky Mirrors but was stunned.

“Uh… but, but I haven’t sold all my Lucky Mirrors yet. I… I haven’t made much money…”

Yuan Zhong smiled and pulled out a bulging pouch from his robe. Inside were all the Lucky Mirrors she had made.

“How have you not made money?” He blinked.

“I bought them all, one hundred taels each, fair and square.”

He took out a Lucky Mirror and looked at her through it. Tanyin’s face appeared huge like a pumpkin, her dark eyes blinking foolishly.

However, something was different.

Yuan Zhong suddenly noticed that her forehead was no longer blank. When he looked at immortals through the mirror, their foreheads showed the character “Xian” (immortal); for ordinary people, it showed “Ren” (human); and for demons, it showed “Yao” (spirit).

The character on Tanyin’s forehead was unclear, obscured by a cloud of mist.

“Leave Yan City, but where to?” She hadn’t noticed anything unusual.

Yuan Zhong silently put away the Lucky Mirror and smiled. “Home. I still owe immortal Meishan two jars of ‘Drunken Life and Dreaming of Death.’ I need to settle that debt.”

Tanyin was a bit surprised. Hadn’t he said he wouldn’t return to Fangwai Mountain? Had he decided to go back?

Noticing her thoughts, Yuan Zhong shook his head. “Not Fangwai Mountain. I have my own cave near Wanlan Mountain.”

He gazed into her gemstone-like eyes, hesitated for a long time, then finally couldn’t hold back. Slowly, he walked over, clasped his hands together, and attempted to bow, but didn’t quite believe it himself. He ended up in an awkward posture, sighing. “You… will always stay with me, right?”

Tanyin nodded without hesitation. “Yes.”

“Always and forever?”


“Really always, always, always following me?”

Tanyin noticed a slight strangeness in his tone and cautiously looked up at him. Yuan Zhong, leaning against the window with his arms crossed, appeared both focused and a bit tense, his eyes fixed on her, as if afraid of missing the smallest change in her expression.

“…Yes,” she murmured.

“Do you agree?”

He wouldn’t run away again, would he?

Yuan Zhong rubbed his nose and lowered his head.

After a long pause, he said quietly, “Then stay with me all the time; don’t leave; you are not allowed to leave.”

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