Light permeated the apartment. The walls, the furniture, and the floor, they all glowed like embers. Li Yundong growled and pushed back against the tip of the spear-like damask. Scarlet rays radiated from the tip of the damask. The rays spread along the length of the damask like the tail of a falling meteor.
Li Yundong's feet slid backwards as the tip of the damask pushed harder against his left palm. The white glow in his palm was waning, and he knew it wouldn't be long before the damask pierced through his skin. Out of sheer desperation, Li Yundong lifted his free hand and tried to grab the other end of the damask. It didn't work. For some reason, his hand kept encountering some kind of resistance the moment it got close to the damask—his hand couldn't reach past the red glow surrounding the damask. Eventually, his attempts to grab the damask with his free hand turned into punches. He delivered punch after punch, all of which were repelled by the damask's red aura.
Feminine laughter echoed in the room. "Using your Lung's Qi, huh? Not bad for a pathetic fool."
Thanks to Xianjue, Li Yundong had predicted the damask's trajectory way before it even hit. He knew that it was aimed at his heart. Even so, he decided to stop it with his palm because dodging wasn't an option—that f*cking thing would've hit Su Chan if he dodged.
"This damask can pierce through thick boulders and solid metal, but you think you can stop it with your bare hands?" Snide laughter rang out. "What a fool!"
The damask spun like a drill. The white glow surrounding Li Yundong's palm dissipated instantly. A stinging sensation at the center of his palm caused him to scream. No. He was mistaken. The pain didn't come from his palm; the pain was inside, like some kind of aura had forced its way into his body, tearing him apart from the inside.
"Since you're a fellow Cultivator. I have no reason to hold back! Now, die!!"
Li Yundong's insides were on fire, but he clenched his jaw and held on. Don't give up... Keep fighting...
A strange sensation washed over Li Yundong, and somehow, it felt familiar. Yes, he'd felt this before. H experienced this exact sensation when he sent Zeng Qin flying after the latter had kicked the pad he'd been holding. A strange surge of strength radiated from Li Yundong's core, and he roared. The enemy's scream rang out, and the damask was instantly forced away from his palm. The pain inside his body was gone, but something else was happening to him, something strange. Li Yundong raised his arms, which were now emitting a golden radiance. No. It wasn't just his arms. His whole body was emitting a golden radiance. (T/N: The perfect imagery will be Goku's Super Saiyan first form)
Li Yundong raised his gaze and glared at the damask hovering a few feet away in the air.
"Th- This... aura..." Gone was the enemy's bravado. The voice that came out from the damask was the voice of a frightened girl.
"What did you do to me!" Li Yundong growled. "Why am I like this?!" A sudden burst of light filled the living room, bathing the walls and furniture in gold. Li Yundong stepped forward. "Answer me!!"
"How could this... How could the Jindan's aura be... Oh my God... The prophecy... It's you… You are the Heir..."
"What Heir? What the hell are you talking about?"
"Listen to me! Abandon that demon witch! Abandon the dark side and join us! You belong with us, the force of good! We can help you achieve your full potent—"
"Shut the hell up! And get off your high horse!" Li Yundong roared. "You break into other people's homes and assault them, and you have the nerve to call yourself the force of good? You're nothing but a crook!"
Li Yundong advanced towards the floating damask while it retreated.
"D- Don't come any closer! S- Stay back! I'm the disciple of the Zhengyi School! Y- You don't wanna mess w- with me!"
The damask tried to fly away, but Li Yundong reached out and grabbed one of its ends. The damask's protective aura fought against his grip but was eventually overwhelmed by the golden radiance of his hand.
The damask suddenly coiled up and slithered along Li Yundong's right arm. Li Yundong tried to rip it away with his left hand, but the damask slipped down his legs and floated back into the air again.
"Tell your stupid organization to leave us alone and never bother us again!" Li Yundong yelled.
"S- Stupid organization!" The ire returned to the girl's voice. "How dare you! The Zhengyi School will not tolerate such utter disrespe—"
"I don't give a flying f*ck!" Li Yundong pounced on the red damask and ripped it from the air with both hands. The red aura resisted, but Li Yundong squeezed as hard as he could. Inch by inch, the red aura diminished under Li Yundong's grip until it dissolved into nothingness. A green apparition floated up from the damask, which was now lying limply in Li Yundong's hands. The apparition took the form of a frightened teenage girl. It was Ruan Hongling.
"Get out!!" Li Yundong stepped forward again. The apparition shrieked, then disappeared in a flash of green light.
Li Yundong sighed and moved his Qi to his Lingtai. Calmness suffused him, and the golden radiance subsided along with all the stress and tension of battle. He turned around and scrambled towards the girl lying on the ground. Su Chan seemed to be holding on to the last threads of consciousness. "Su Chan! Talk to me! How can I help? Tell me what I can do to make it better..."
Su Chan whimpered and moaned.
"What? What is it?"
"Mmm... M- Ma...sss..."
Something clicked in Li Yundong's mind. The massage.
"Alright. Got it." He picked up Su Chan from the floor and carried her into the living room, then positioned her on the floor so that her back was leaning against the couch. After that, he settled himself on the couch behind her and clamped his thighs on both sides of her shoulders to keep her upright.
"Hang on, princess. Don't die on me..." he muttered as he positioned his fingers on Su Chan's head.
A flash of green light appeared on the foot of Mount Longhu. A moment later, Ruan Hongling's figure appeared on the flight of stairs leading up to Mount Longhu. Like everything else in the area, the stairs—covered in blue flagstones—looked elegant in a quaint and picturesque sort of way.
Ten years. Ruan Hongling had had that red damask for over ten years. And now it was taken from her by that vile, and wicked man, that pathetic slave of a fox spirit. How could she allow this to happen? How could she? No. She didn't allow it to happen. The man had taken the thing from her by force. His Spirit was so powerful that it had broken the connection between her Spirit and the damask. And now the damask no longer answered to her. Oh, the shame. How could she live with herself from now on?
A sob escaped Ruan Hongling's lips. She pressed a hand to her mouth to stifle it. Good thing she didn't fly straight into Mount Longhu. She didn't want anyone to see her like this. Well, other than Elder Sister Zi Yuan, of course.
Once she had regained control of her emotions, Ruan Hongling took the flight of stairs and began making her way into Mount Longhu. Halfway up the mountain, Ruan Hongling stopped beside a small Taoist temple. When she raised her knuckles, poised to knock on the door, it swung open.
"Elder Sister Zi Yuan!!!" Ruan Hongling wailed and threw herself into the woman's arms.
"Good God, Hongling. What on earth is the matter?"
"My damask... Someone took my damask from me!"
Ruan Hongling rubbed her eyes and met Elder Sister Zi Yuan's gaze. A tiny smile graced her ever-beautiful features. "C'mere Hongling."
Tears stung Ruan Hongling's eyes again and she couldn't help the sob that escaped her lips a moment later. It was like Elder Sister Zi Yuan's gentle pats on her back had broken the dam holding back her emotions.
"Now, now... Stop crying, okay? It's just a red damask, what's the big deal? I'll get you another one for you later!"
Ruan Hongling sniffed. "But it isn't the same! That thing has been with me for ten years! Master gave it to me himself!"
Elder Sister Zi Yuan just smiled and said nothing. Minutes later, Ruan Hongling's sobs petered out.
"Elder Sister Zi Yuan..."
"You opened the door when I was about to knock..."
Elder Sister Zi Yuan smirked.
"How did you know I was returning?" Ruan Hongling asked.
Elder Sister Zi Yuan chuckled. "Well. Let's just say that I read your fortune before I returned. So I know that you'd run into trouble today. I've been waiting for your return, you see."
Ruan Hongling giggled, feeling joy for the first time since she left New Hongsheng District. "You could predict that far into the future? You really are awesome, Elder Sister Zi Yuan!"
Elder Sister Zi Yuan smiled and dried Ruan Hongling's tears gently. "Look at you. Crying like a baby even though you're already a big girl."
Ruan Hongling pouted. "That damask is precious to me, you know..."
"I know. Come. Tell me, then. Who took it from you? Didn't they know that you're from the Zhengyi School?"
"It was a man," Ruan Hongling growled. "A vile, repulsive, and lecherous man!"
A slight frown marred Elder Sister Zi Yuan's features. "Oh?"
Suddenly, Ruan Hongling went into a panic. She grabbed Elder Sister Zi Yuan's arms. "There's something else, Elder Sister Zi Yuan... That man... He... He's the Jindan's Heir!"
Elder Sister Zi Yuan's demeanor changed in an instant. Gone was the calm and composed woman. "What?! Are you sure, Hongling? Are you absolutely positive?"
Ruan Hongling nodded. There could be no mistake. "I'm sure of it, Elder Sister Zi Yuan! He unleashed the Jindan's aura. That's how he managed to take the damask from me!"
"How could..." Elder Sister Zi Yuan went pale. For long while, she just stood there, gaping like a fish. Ruan Hongling shook her arm. "Elder Sister?"
Finally, after minutes of silence, Elder Sister Zi Yuan spoke. "Hongling. Go to my room and grab the jade plate and the mirror."
Ruan Hongling's eyes widened. "Seriously?"
Elder Sister Zi Yuan nodded. "Do you know where I keep them?"
Ruan Hongling nodded.
"Go and get them. We'll leave the mountain immediately."