When Meng Xiaoyao left, the mirror image that was hanging in the air closed as if it had never appeared.
Jane, who had been silent for a moment, suddenly fell to her knees before Yu Xuening. Her eyes had turned red.
Yu Xueningnarrowed her eyes and asked with a teasing smile, "Little girl, what are you doing?"
"I know you can bring me out. Please take me out…" Jane gritted her teeth. The hatred she felt at the moment was impossible to hide.
Twirling a strand of hair, Yu Xuening smiled playfully while looking at her. After a moment, she said, "Can you really change the situation outside with your power?"
"I don't know," Jane forced out in agony. "But I've never seen him in such despair. I simply dare not imagine how much pain he is in to look so weak…"
Yu Xuening sighed softly. "I can bring you out, but I won't…"
"Why!?" Jane looked up at her in puzzlement. "Aren't you on Yang Chen's side!?"
Yu Xuening shook her head. "I just prefer to believe that your man can face his fate this time on his own. Since I have acquiesced to Meng Xiaoyao’s arrangement, I will not suddenly backtrack. This is my trust in myself and also in Yang Chen."
Seeing the profound gleam in her eyes, Jane bit her lip and lowered her head in silence.
Seven days later, in Zhonghai, China.
Due to the geographical location of Zhonghai, the city had an abundance of water vapor and no barriers. Under the assault of the cold currents, the temperature there had long since come to more than ten degrees below zero even during the daytime.
At that moment, the city was almost empty, except for those who could not leave such as the elderly, almost all the young and strong people had left the city with their families in tow.
The once-bustling streets were devoid of pedestrians even at midday.
What was creepy was that there were still bodies of vagrants and beggars who had frozen to death, as well as the bodies of ordinary people who had died as a result of the riots.
Some of these corpses had been devoured by hardy rodents, leaving many of them mutilated and bloody.
The blood, however, had coagulated, and the bodies did not stench or decompose as much in the low temps. A plague would have broken out if it had been a normal summer day owing to the heat.
The array of shops in the central business district had mostly been looted or vandalized by that time.
The army and police had abandoned the area, so naturally, no one would bother to deal with the mess.
Rather than calling it a cosmopolitan city, it was a dying old man on the verge of freezing to death, a frozen piece of land slowly turning to hell.
On a street of bars in the western district lay a small bar with its facade smashed by a hailstorm.
Inside, the tables and chairs were in disarray, the sofas tumbled to the floor, and rubbish and empty bottles littered all over the place.
It was in that somewhat musty and foul-smelling place that a young man was lying on a hard red sofa against the wall.
His clothes were dirty and stained, soaked in various colors of alcohol, his hair was a mess, and his body reeked of alcohol.
His face was flushed purple from a persistent hangover, while his pair of eyes were filled with visible blood vessels.
Underneath the sofa were unknown numbers of empty bottles, some empty and some half-drunk.
These were all drinks that were found after rummaging through the basement of the bar. The people left them behind while they fled in a panic.
The man's eyes were somewhat glazed. He was staring blankly at a corner not far away. Sometimes a smile seemed to spread at the corners of his mouth, and sometimes a pained look appeared in his eyes as he burped. At those moments, he resembled a mentally abnormal person.
This man was Yang Chen, who had returned to Zhonghai after wandering around aimlessly for two days.
Somehow, he arrived at this small bar where he had once met Lin Ruoxi.
Time had changed, and things were different.
This place in the past might have been an absurdly awkward, yet sweet memory for the two.
However, at that moment, in his eyes, this place had become the beginning of a deception.
Yang Chen used the Blinding Leaf to conceal all his cultivation and aura, as he did not want to be disturbed by anyone, nor did he want to see anyone.
After rummaging out a large pile of alcohol, he lay down on the sofa and drank bottle after bottle.
He deliberately let alcohol numb his nerves or even himself, perhaps because he wanted to stay drunk forever.
Yang Chen even thought it would be good if he were an ordinary person so that he could drink himself to death.
Yet, when his family and daughter came to his mind, he felt a kind of powerlessness and weakness. He could not die, but staying alive was worse than death.
This place was quiet, so terribly silent that no one would have noticed the man in the shadowy corner except for the howling cold wind of midnight.
It was not until midday on the seventh day that a man walked in by stepping lightly on the musty floor.
Yang Chen was lying on the sofa, utterly wasted. A glint passed through his drowsy eyes, but it was fleeting as if he did not notice anyone approaching him.
The person walked to the sofa and stood still for a moment. Seeing that Yang Chen had no intention of getting up, he revealed a woeful smile.
"How silly. Your encounter with her is but fleeting, and so are your memories with her. There’s no need to be so obsessed about it."
Yang Chen twisted his body arduously and rolled over, turning his back towards Meng Xiaoyao.
"Get lost…" Yang Chen uttered two words, not wanting to say anything else.
Meng Xiaoyao could not help but smile. It seemed that Yang Chen was still sober despite looking drunk. Even if he did not introduce himself, Yang Chen still guessed his identity.
In actuality, it was not difficult to guess because he was able to locate Yang Chen despite the latter's use of the Blinding Leaf.
Meng Yiayao was not angry at Yang Chen's rudeness. As a matter, he did not care how other people treated him.
On the contrary, he nodded approvingly, pulled a chair, and sat beside Yang Chen. "As the saying goes, one should not be obsessed with appearances but to see the truth through them. One should also not get caught up in the truth and deny the appearance—"
Yang Chen's tone became even more gruffly with a vague sense of anger as he interrupted Meng Xiaoyao once again.
Appearances? Truth? If Buddhist doctrine could explain the love and hatred in the world, then with my enlightenment, how could I have so many ties and entanglements?
Meng Xiaoyao's mouth was half-opened. He, too, felt that he was being a bit ridiculous. This young man is only a child in his twenties. Regardless of his boundless potential, he is still a child. If I speak to him like how I speak to Yu Xuening, he couldn’t possibly listen to me.
As for Yang Chen telling him to get lost, he was not bothered by it at all.
After pondering for a moment, Meng Xiaoyao thought of something. Then, he nodded his head and spoke again. "As far as we know from mankind's exploration of the Earth in ancient times, a trillion-ton asteroid struck the Earth 65 million years ago. The speed of the asteroid was over 83,000 kilometers per hour, and its power was equivalent to detonating 30 million nuclear warheads at the same time. That asteroid, so to speak, destroyed all life on Earth at the time, and every ten million years, there is the possibility of such a major impact. In other words, every ten million years, the Earth could be destroyed. Small celestial impacts, on the other hand, can happen all the time.
"Just 50,000 years ago, when China was caught in a mess where demons ran berserk and the immortals and demons were engaged in a fierce rivalry, a meteorite struck a desert, which is now part of Arizona, United States. After the meteorite fell, it threw 175 million tonnes of rock and sand into the sky, leaving a huge crater six to seven kilometers wide and nearly two hundred meters deep. This giant crater is now codenamed 'Barringer Crater.'
"At the time, the meteorite was only one hundred and thirty feet, comparable to a small jet today. When it fell, the resulting heat of 1659 degrees Celsius melted the desert rocks. The gravel, the debris from the impact, reached two to three times the speed of a rifle bullet and spread three to six miles around… At that speed, any surrounding people or animals were not spared, and most of the indigenous people had their bodies and bones penetrated without them knowing…"
Yang Chen finally did not tell him to get lost again.
Slowly, he sat up and turned his head. Looking at the smiling Meng Xiaoyao, he said grimly, "What exactly do you want to say?"