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Chapter 11

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Liu Shuang raised her hand and forcibly gathered her immortal energy, attempting to extract a drop of blood from the center of her forehead.

The two of them were Daoist companions; their souls were intertwined. Now, to sever this connection, extracting the blood essence was as painful as tearing their souls apart.

The process was slow and agonizing.

Yan Chaosheng watched Liu Shuang’s actions coldly. He knew she had always been afraid of pain. This kind of excruciating pain, akin to tearing out one’s marrow, he thought she wouldn’t be able to endure and would eventually give up, abandoning the idea of severing their connection.

But despite the cold sweat pouring from Liu Shuang’s body and her lips turning pale, she didn’t utter a sound.

She didn’t even ask him for help.

In his memory, she had always been soft and reliant on him. Now, to endure such pain just to sever ties with him stirred an uncontrollable anger within him. He grasped her wrist, about to say something.

Liu Shuang turned her head away and said hoarsely, “There’s no need for the demon lord’s help. I can do it.”

He swallowed his words and sneered, “Fine.”

In the vast world, love never required any price, but parting came at a great cost.

Liu Shuang wanted to remember this pain, to engrave in her heart what it was like to love the wrong person and what it ultimately led to.

Finally, a drop of blood was extracted from her forehead.

That blood belonged to Yan Chaosheng. In the turbulent sea of blood, it was vivid and intense. The blood coagulated in her palm, faintly revealing the shape of a curled-up boy — this was the blood essence.

Liu Shuang restrained herself, not letting her gaze tremble, and raised her hand to offer the blood essence to the air.

“Demon Lord, it’s your turn.”

Yan Chaosheng met her determined gaze and raised his hand.

His action of extracting the blood essence was no slower than Liu Shuang’s. She sat cross-legged on the ground, quietly waiting for Yan Chaosheng to extract her blood essence.

For the first time in a hundred years, perhaps only now are they truly equal. The pain she felt, Yan Chaosheng would now experience as well.

They were on a stone platform, beneath which the sea of blood roiled like vast, celebratory red waves.

The same color as when their souls merge.

Liu Shuang’s gaze fell on Yan Chaosheng’s face. Even at this moment, he showed no sign of pain, not even a furrowed brow, as if the process of extracting the essence was as leisurely as a stroll.

Such endurance reminded Liu Shuang why she had once loved Yan Chaosheng.

Because Yan Chaosheng was the opposite of her. He possessed the qualities she admired. She was content in one place, but he could lead two oppressed races to rise and reclaim their territory.

He was strong, mature, calm, and rational. Any pain that fell on him was like a breeze in the spring—inconsequential.

Once, when Yan Chaosheng returned injured, with a gaping wound in his chest revealing bones, he could still rest his chin on his hand and look at her and say, “Scared stiff, why aren’t you crying yet?”

When she finally reacted, heart aching, he laughed, “Alright, save your tears for when I’m truly dead; that would be fitting.”

At that time, Liu Shuang also wanted to be like him, strong enough to help herself and others. But the timid nature of the immortal grass made her gradually forget her initial admiration, and she became a parasitic vine clinging to him.

Today, leaving Yan Chaosheng, she recalled all these forgotten feelings. Her gaze shifted from his face to his clothes, beautifully embroidered with black and gold threads, all meticulously sewn by her.

Perhaps it was an illusion, but she felt Yan Chaosheng took longer to extract her blood essence than she did. It seemed to drag on, giving her ample time to reconsider.

But Liu Shuang wouldn’t regret it. Her nature had never been like Yan Chaosheng’s. Leaving him, she instead felt more like him. As the sea of blood roiled, Liu Shuang gently closed her eyes.

No matter how long it took, it would eventually end. Yan Chaosheng finally extracted her blood essence, which floated in his palm, vaguely showing the form of a curled-up girl.

In the air, the two drops of blood intertwined, instantly forming an intimate embrace.

Yan Chaosheng looked down at Liu Shuang, who was sitting cross-legged on the ground, and coldly sneered, “Once the bond is severed, neither the demon realm nor the ghost realm will accept you. When we meet again, you will be like fish on a chopping board, even to me.”

“I’m not afraid.”

Yan Chaosheng’s voice was icy, “Don’t regret it, and don’t come begging to me.”

Liu Shuang nodded and stood up from the ground, “Demon Lord, sever the bond.”

The two intertwined essences shone brilliantly. Yan Chaosheng held them in his palm, his gaze falling on the quiet, gentle female essence. He tightened his fingers, and the essences separated and shattered, turning into a red light that slipped through his fingers, falling into the sea of blood below and disappearing.

Liu Shuang stared at the dissipating light, feeling a sense of loss.

Yan Chaosheng closed his eyes and said, “Go, leave the ghost realm, and never appear before me again!”

Liu Shuang had always known his cold nature, but being driven away so quickly still hurt her.

As she walked to the exit of the Blood Refining Sea, Yan Chaosheng remained with his back to her, not turning around. She thought she might harbor some resentment towards him, but she couldn’t muster any.

She remembered many good things about Yan Chaosheng.

On a summer day in the demon realm, as hot as a furnace, Yan Chaosheng let her use his body to cool down. He was alone, but his companion Qingluan followed him for seven hundred years, like family, and in the end, he gave Qingluan to her as a mount after much persuasion. The fierce bird ended up becoming plump and lazy under her care, and Yan Chaosheng only sneered, never saying much. Liu Shuang also remembered the bloodline tribulation lightning, where he stood in front of her, shielding her from the purple thunder.

The lightning struck Yan Chaosheng, but in the end, it turned into warm light and flowed into her body. He shielded her from the storm, protecting her as she grew.

In a hundred years, aside from constant battles, Yan Chaosheng was never unkind to Liu Shuang. His only flaw was that he didn’t love her.

Knowing Yan Chaosheng couldn’t see, Liu Shuang still bowed deeply to him from a distance.

“Liu Shuang bids farewell to the Demon Lord; thank you for a hundred years of care.”

Apart from the whistling wind, there was no other response from the Blood Refining Sea.

Liu Shuang couldn’t ignore the lingering sadness and reluctance in her heart, but alongside these feelings was an inexplicable sense of relief.

For a whole century, the life revolving entirely around one person had finally ended. She could finally leave the ghost realm and return home to cultivate.

On her way back to the palace, Liu Shuang encountered Su Lun, who looked at her with a bitter smile. “It’s truly surprising, madam; how did things end up like this with the Demon Lord?”

Su Lun had thought that with one being strong and cruel and the other soft as glutinous rice, Liu Shuang would never be more resolute than Yan Chaosheng when deciding to leave.

Liu Shuang replied, “I’m no longer’madam,’ Lord Su Lun. You probably don’t know my name. I’m Liu Shuang. My home is in the human realm, at Canglan Lake in the far north. You’re welcome to visit if you have time.”

She gave a shy smile, “But the Canglan Lake is home to minor immortals, we don’t have much to entertain you with, so please don’t mind.”

Su Lun said quietly, “I won’t mind.”

“Then I’m going home.”

“Madam, don’t you need to pack anything?”

Liu Shuang sighed, realizing it would take Su Lun some time to stop using the title he had called her by for a hundred years.

“There is nothing in the ghost realm that belongs to me.”

Su Lun was taken aback.

Seeing her smile, he felt a deep sense of sorrow.

Liu Shuang walked far away and waved back at him, “Lord Su Lun, go back; don’t worry about me!”

Liu Shuang then went to see Qingluan. Qingluan was nestled in the rocks with Chiyan, showing affection to each other. When Qingluan saw her, it joyfully flew over, its large wings nearly blowing Liu Shuang away.

Liu Shuang hugged its wing and whispered, “Don’t be so playful.”

Without her, Qingluan would follow Yan Chaosheng and Chiyan into battle. When they met again, Qingluan might have become a majestic figure.

Liu Shuang personally fed it some spiritual fruit and meticulously groomed its feathers. Qingluan, unaware of the imminent parting, was ecstatic to receive such attention from its master.

Feeling a bit melancholy, Liu Shuang thought Yan Chaosheng was right. This once-fearsome demon bird had indeed become somewhat foolish under her care.

Chiyan looked down from a height, arrogantly watching the female bird Qingluan and Liu Shuang. Its claws were long and sharp; its wings were ablaze with extreme fire; and its eyes were sharp. It stood lazily on the highest rock, waiting for Qingluan to return.

Liu Shuang patted Qingluan’s head and said, “Go back now.”

Finally, there was only Chang Huan left.

Chang Huan pressed her lips together and said, “Madam, let me go with you!”

“Don’t talk nonsense,” Liu Shuang said.

“You are a ghost. If you come back with me to the Canglan Lake, your cultivation will never advance.”

Just as the ghost realm wasn’t suitable for Liu Shuang to live in, Canglan Lake was not suitable for Chang Huan.

“Yan Chaosheng is a good ruler,” Liu Shuang smiled.

“Maybe one day, ghost cultivators will be as respected as immortals.”

Chang Huan looked at her sorrowfully and said, “Then I will guard the courtyard for you, waiting for the day you return.”

Liu Shuang opened her mouth, wanting to say that she might never return, but seeing Chang Huan’s determined eyes, she simply said, “Take care.”

Liu Shuang only took a box of dowry her mortal parents had given her, leaving everything else behind.

Chang Huan escorted her to the exit of the ghost realm. On the thousand-layered steps at the exit, Liu Shuang saw a figure in white robes.

It was Consort Mi Chu.

She approached and said softly, “I never intended to harm you.”

“But you did,” Liu Shuang, holding the box, glanced at her.

“You knew my spiritual energy was weak. You deliberately set traps and created illusions to harm me and made sure Yan Chaosheng saw it.”

Mi Chu’s lips twitched with a look of irritation. Talking to such a straightforward immortal grass was exasperating; she didn’t even understand polite conversation.

“Back then, to save the Demon Lord, I married Feng Fuming. Seven hundred years ago, do you know what he went through? No, you don’t know anything. You only enjoyed his kindness without sharing his hardships. All these years, I’ve always missed him. But you, just because you have a face similar to mine, took away what was originally mine. Do you know how sad I was when I found out about you from the immortal realm? Why did my efforts pave the way for you?”

Liu Shuang: “Oh.”

Liu Shuang and Chang Huan stood together, calmly looking at Mi Chu. Mi Chu couldn’t continue and turned away.

Chang Huan watched Mi Chu’s retreating figure with hatred. Liu Shuang said, “Chang Huan, don’t provoke her. She is the Demon Lord’s beloved, and her spiritual energy is profound. I don’t feel wronged; I even stabbed her twice. After I leave, you should follow Lord Su Lun or Lord Fu Heng. They will take good care of you.”

Liu Shuang walked past the cold Qingcang Mountain, feeling like it was a lifetime ago.

Liu Shuang didn’t know how many times she had waited for Yan Chaosheng in the palace on Qingcang Mountain, but she would never do so again. Everyone told her she didn’t understand Yan Chaosheng’s past seven hundred years or what he had gone through in his youth.

But if Liu Shuang had truly lived seven hundred years ago, witnessing Yan Chaosheng’s youth and his past with Mi Chu, she would never have married him!

Liu Shuang didn’t know how long she had been walking. Without Qingluan, the journey back to Canglan Lake seemed especially long. She flew and stopped, continuously trying to hurry back.

Until a green-feathered bird flew to her shoulder. She exclaimed joyfully, “Grandpa Tree!”

The green-feathered bird transformed into a leaf and fell into Liu Shuang’s palm. An old, deep voice echoed in her ears.

“Liu Shuang! There’s a big problem! Someone has used an artifact to set up a barrier around Canglan Lake, allowing entry but not exit. I have a premonition that the Tribulation Fire will arrive early. Do not come back, understand? If possible, ask the Demon Lord for help. Only he can save all the beings of Canglan Lake.”

Liu Shuang felt a tightness in her chest as she listened. Someone had deliberately trapped all the beings of Canglan Lake right before the arrival of the Tribulation Fire!

If no one could escape, they would all perish in Canglan Lake. Grandpa Tree didn’t know that Liu Shuang had severed ties with Yan Chaosheng, which was why he asked her to seek Yan Chaosheng’s help to save the beings of Canglan Lake.

In the past, it might have been easy, but just a few days ago, Yan Chaosheng had told her never to come back and ask for his help.

The communication leaf in her palm lost its spiritual energy and fell to the ground. There were 13,000 beings in Canglan Lake! If they all died in the Tribulation Fire…

Liu Shuang gritted her teeth and turned around, flying back towards the ghost realm.

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