3:17 – Myriad Heavens – I
Wang Tian sighed. “Even now I can’t erase the karma of the past.” The heavenly prince watched Xinxin from a distant mountain peak.
The young girl that had become a heaven-defying beauty stood in the pagoda balcony and focused on the jade slip Wang Tian had given her. Her delicate face scrunched up in concentration, those soft brows furrowed in thought.
A familiar sight, although she wouldn’t remember it.
Wang Tian sighed again. He held his hands behind his back, standing there as a breeze blew through the mountain top, billowing his azure robes and long black hair like a lonely hero.
He stared up into the blue sky and muttered, “The heavens gave me a second chance, but everything is different. Is this my punishment? To never have her favor again?”
There was no response, but then again, he wasn’t expecting one.
Wang Tian stared at Xinxin again, regret filling his heart. After a few more moments, he turned away from the heaven-defying beauty and shifted his gaze elsewhere. More specifically, he turned his gaze to the ruined Zhan Clan Grounds.
Even so far away, it was possible to see the destruction wrought upon the once peaceful town. The towering Emerald Pavilion had fallen, the Jade Mountain had lost its color… and countless homes were collapsed.
But that shouldn’t have been the case.
“The invaders attacked much more ferociously this time, and not even a bird was spared. Could this be the ripple effect?”
He started training earlier and sped up his advance as early as he could. Now… everything was different. But that didn’t mean he had to just watch.
“Sifu Guilao, was it?” Wang Tian muttered.
A person that shouldn’t have existed, that didn’t exist in his memories.
Bearing that thought in mind, Wang Tian left the mountain peak, vanishing into the air.
Time passed by at a rate both leisurely and frantic. For the members of the Wang Clan, word had spread of their heavenly prince valiantly charging in to save his betrothed after the Zhan Clan’s downfall and offering her a home within his personal mountain peak and villa.
While no one had been there to confirm it, there were rumors of her beauty spreading about by the few members of the clan who managed to catch a glimpse of her within the morning light. In those rumors, she was described as a heaven-defying beauty, like a fairy descended from the immortal realm.
On hearing that, while there were many jealous women, overall the clan was excited that their beloved prince would have someone like that at his side. A match made in heaven, they were called. With Wang Tian’s heaven-defying talent, only a beauty as heaven-defying would be fitting.
The elders made thorough preparations for the date of the wedding. Invitations were spread throughout the Xia dynasty, even to the old legends quietly cultivating in their caves. The finest tailors were hired and put to work crafting wedding dress that wouldn’t disappoint Wang Tian’s betrothed.
It was a huge affair. Since news had also spread of the Zhan Clan’s downfall, the fact that the Wang Clan’s latest prodigy would be taking the daughter of the Zhan Clan’s leader as his wife made countless old patriarchs gnash their teeth in regret. Many were hoping that the Wang elders would have broken the engagement off, or that Wang Tian himself would have refused it. A powerless beauty with the ancient bloodline of the True Wood physique… even if it had been centuries since another had emerged after the Zhan Clan’s founder, if there was a chance that it could resurface in a clan, that would have been worth accepting a young girl who had nothing else to her name.
In that way, with the entire Xia dynasty anticipating the wedding, two years passed and it was a week before the date of the wedding.
The Wang Clan’s central city, Xian Ni, bustled with activity as travelers, young masters, and elders arrived to make living arrangements for the coming days. The Bai Clan, the Meng Clan, the Qin Clan… various renowned individuals arrived to see the match up of the century. At the same time, experts from famous sects like the Sword Mountain Sect arrived as well.
Merchant stalls hawked their wares at every street corner, trying to garner the bit of profit from the loose pursestrings of the young masters. Skilled refiners and alchemists set up shop soon after hearing that, determined to make their own profit as well.
The ordinary people living in the city, mortals who hadn’t stepped on the path of cultivation, shamelessly followed the sect members around, begging to be taken in as outer disciples.
It was chaos, but a festive one.
And within that chaos, a young woman with skin reminiscent of the moon and long, silky black hair with a hint of green walked through the streets. Staring at the lively atmosphere, she gnashed her teeth.
Beside the young woman was a muscular man in a gray robe. A vicious scar spread from his face down across his body. With a sword sheathed at his side, he carried a murderous aura that kept people at bay.
They were Zhan Yue, who had fled to the Sword Mountain Sect, and Xiong Jie, the senior brother who took her in.
“Damn that Xinxin!” Zhan Yue said. “Why couldn’t she have died along with the others?!”
Xiong Jie grunted and then said, “Watch your words, Yue. Members of the Wang Clan won’t take such disrespect lying down.”
“Hmph.” Zhan Yue crossed her arms. “If they have a problem with it, they can say it to my face.” After that, her face softened and she smiled at Xiong Jie. “Big bro won’t let me get hurt, will he?”
Seeing that, Xiong Jie’s murderous aura intensified and he coldly smiled. “Let them try. It’s been too long since I’ve been able to hone Slaughter.” Saying that, he caressed the sword at his side.