The Incident Happened in Cattle-Fence Street
It was still early in the night, as the moon hung in the middle of the sky and the stars were blinking like naughty kids, as if they were interacting with the people beneath them.
In the small courtyard, Qinghan and Qingyu were sitting on a pair of stone chairs, side by side. They both looked towards the sky, trying to get a better view of the mysterious cosmos. They were completely silent, not even a word was spoken, as if both of them had something weighing heavily on their mind.
– Alas! –
Qinghan rubbed the bronze ring on his third finger, sighing cheerlessly.
Qinghan had spent the whole afternoon testing this ring, to see if there was something magical attached to it. Disappointingly, however, he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that this ring was a “three-no’s-ring”, no magical function, no economic value and no ornamental value. In simpler terms, it was just an ugly bronze ring, and nobody would care to pick it up once it was dropped.
This afternoon, when he found out that the ring was broken, he was almost sure it was a fake one. However, this was still the inheritance of his father, so he wouldn’t give up so easily. He carefully scraped the golden surface off the ring, revealing the true appearance of this bronze ring.
On its murky surface, Qinghan had found the word “soul” sculptured. However, it wasn’t strange for a ring to have words sculptured on it, as this was usually the case.
Even though Qinghan wasn’t a fate-believer, he did enjoy to believe in miracles. In his previous life, he had read different genres of website novels. In these novels, a magical weapon would always disguise itself with an ugly appearance. While it also required some special method to activate its hidden power.
Therefore, from his reading experience, he decided to use his blood to activate this ring.
Clenching his teeth, Qinghan had held a sword and made a cut in one of his fingers.
One drop, two drops, three drops…
Sadly, however, the ring didn’t give a damn response.
Being afraid the quantity of the blood wasn’t enough, Qinghan even squeezed his wounded finger to let more drops of blood ooze out.
Now, the blood he had dropped on the ring could almost fill half a bowl. Finally, the response came… Not from the ring, but from his body – He felt light-headed, as if the stars were flying right in front of his eyes… Poor guy, he was suffering from an excessive loss of blood.
“Alright! It seems like giving it my blood only makes me feel dizzy. I’ll try something else.”
Qinghan racked his brains to find other ways to identify the ring’s value. He put the ring on fire, baked it and even smoked it. Yet nothing happened. Out of fury, he even went to the toilet, threatening the ring to flush it away if it still didn’t show any sign of magic.
Despite all of these methods he had used, the ring still didn’t show any kind of magic, however, it did become darker and darker… Disillusioned by the results, Qinghan gave up on trying. The moment when he was about to throw it away, he pondered for a moment, before he eventually put it on his finger. However, considering that it was still the inheritance from his father, he kept it as a souvenir.
As the number one cultivator of the Immortal Ranking List, as well as a master in the third level of the Realm of the Emperor, his father had left him two “valuable items”. One was an untested and risky account of his experiences; the other was a completely fake ring.
“Brother, I remember you once said that those who die will become another star in the sky, is this true?” Qingyu suddenly raised a question. In the silver moonlight, she looked like a fairy, elegant and peaceful.
“Stars? No, they’ll be decomposed into the soil…” Qinghan blurted out. In their childhood, he had once made up some fairy tale for his sister. And his innocent sister still fully believed all the stuff he had created with his imagination.
However, when Qinghan turned around and found the crystal clear eyes of his sister, he decided not to extinguish her beautiful illusion. “Errr… I mean, the body will decompose into the soil, but the soul will become a star in the universe. Like our dear parents, they are now among these gleaming stars, probably even looking at us at this very moment…”
“Sure, they will. And they’ll forever be the gleaming stars in the sky. If it wasn’t for my father’s benevolence, I would probably have been a homeless drifter in the streets by now. And mother also treated me as her own child. Now, they’re all gone… I have no chance to give back the love they gave me…” Qingyu choked on her sobbing words, as she replied. Finally, she stopped talking, as she hid her face in her arms.
“Women are made of water. They always have limitless tears.” Qinghan thought to himself, he then patted his sister’s back, “Our parents are peacefully resting. Meanwhile you still have me, your brother. Let’s stick together and help each other in these difficult times.”
“Okay!” Qingyu nodded her head, gazing at Qinghan with her tearful eyes. Looking at his pitiful but charming sister, Qinghan swallowed. It touched the strings of his heart. For a moment, he even started to feel like the previous remarks from his sister, were perhaps wiser than he had originally thought. The oath he had made in front of their deceased mother became somewhat vague. For now, to him, nothing was more important then to protect his delicate and feminine, yet innocent, sister.
“As a man, I’m not afraid of the perilous dangers ahead of me. The worst thing is to be killed, but I suppose that I’ve already died once. However, what about my sister? She is a woman who possesses no martial arts or weapons, which are required to survive in this jungle-like society. How would she survive in this cruel world, or even in this indifferent Ye Family? I cannot drag her into this whirlpool…” Qinghan murmured anxiously.
The next day.
The bright sun hung high in the cloudless sky, illuminating every corner of this world.
The Cattle-Fence Street in Grey City was crowded with both people and vehicles. On both sides of the street, peddlers were busy touting the passers-by, hoping that the latter would come over and buy something from them.
“Brother, hurry up! This is a funny place!”
A pair of young teenagers were walking down the street. The young man was in green clothing, looking gentle and frail. While the young lady was like a flower that was still in its bud, ready to become a beauty at any moment. Definitely, they were Qinghan and Qingyu.
Qinghan held his sister’s hand, while they were observing their surroundings. The smile on their faces indicated how happy they were, as if two caged birds had suddenly been freed.
In order to depressurize her brother, Qingyu had asked him to come shopping with her. Actually, it was only an excuse to release the anxieties, that had haunted Qinghan these last couple of days. Qinghan had immediately seen through her trick, but he felt gratified to have such a considerate sister. Even though Qingyu was an adopted child, she still greatly resembled her mother’s temperaments, quiet, soft and affectionate…
“Eh? So many books!”
Qinghan stood in front of a book stall, where piles upon piles of different books were stacked together. The seller was an elder, who was in the middle of reading a book. Strangely, the elder didn’t even say hello to Qinghan, as he only gave him a passionless look, before he fixed his eyes back on his book.
“Geography of the Continent”, “An Overview of the Prefecture War”, “A Sketch of the Three Most Mysterious Areas”… The variety of the books dazzled Qinghan’s eyes. Back in the Ye Family, he wasn’t allowed to enter the library due to his low status. While the books left by his father were mostly poems and about other literature subjects. It was justifiable to say, that Qinghan had little access to the books that he was interested in.
“Brother, buy some if you like. There is a cosmetics stall across the street, which I want to look at.” Qingyu didn’t show any interest in the books, but the cosmetic stall across the street had caught her attention. She wished to buy some blushers.
“Alright.” Qinghan replied absentmindedly, while his eyes were still fixated on one of the books.
“The Prefecture War dates back to three thousand years ago. It was an immortal’s edict that brought a stop to the continuous conflicts among the prefectures. Every thirty years, each prefecture will have to send their representatives to fight against each other. Each of the candidates will be able to earn credits, which will be used to determine the victor. The prefectures will then be ranked from high to low and the two lower ones are then forced to send tributes to the strongest prefecture. As individuals, the representatives will also be rewarded according to the amount of credits they have earned.” Qinghan read the first page of “An Overview of the Prefecture War”.
“Hey, how much do these books cost?” Qinghan asked, after he had selected six of them from the large collection.
“Five crystal coins each.” The elder replied, without raising his head.
Qinghan took thirty crystal coins out and put them on the piles of books. Before he left, he carefully wrapped the books and put them into his bag.
“Let me go! Brother, help…”
A familiar voice came from across the street, Qinghan turned around to see what was happening. To his panic, he found that his sister was in danger.
A man in white clothing clutched onto Qingyu’s hands, despite the latter’s struggle. She screamed and screamed, hoping that her brother would soon come to save her.
– Chuu! –
Qinghan hugged the bag in his arms, as he dashed towards his sister, like a provoked lion.