“Oh yeah, what about you? I’ve seen that kick of yours. You’re at least level three now, aren’t you?”
“I’m not telling you.” Liu Meng changed her posture and positioned herself more comfortably on Li Yiming’s chest.
“Meng…” Li Yiming
“Your bald head is so ugly…” She slid her hand across Li Yiming’s head.
“I missed you.” Li Yiming tightened his embrace around Liu Meng. He could still picture very vividly Liu Meng’s unwavering resolution back in Shangbei, when she ignited the phoenix’s fire with her own soul. This was what he had been waiting for so long, and Li Yiming knew that Liu Meng had an even rougher journey than himself.
“Me too…” Liu Meng closed her eyes. She bit her lips when she remembered that she had decided to be nothing more than a spectator since the start, and that she had vowed to bury the memories of that fateful night in her heart. After a reunion under extraordinary circumstances, she had decided to give everything up once again for Li Yiming to live. However, a twist of fate allowed them to be together once more, and Liu Meng was grateful to both Heaven’s Laws and fate for allowing it to happen.
Their fateful reunion fueled the desire for each other that was burning within them. Liu Meng could feel Li Yiming’s body grow warmer and warmer, while her own strength was fading away. This was the first time she had been so close to Li Yiming after that night when she was drunk, only this time, her heart was as close as her body was to Li Yiming’s.
Li Yiming adjusted his position and put Liu Meng down on the bed gently. Unlike Liu Meng, he had enough experience to understand where this was leading to, and his hands were already moving around on Liu Meng’s body. He bent down and brought his lips to Liu Meng’s neck…
‘What the…?’ Li Yiming suddenly jumped away from Liu Meng like a frightened cat. He stared at Liu Meng, aghast.
A jet of purple fire suddenly shot out of Liu Meng’s chest and wrapped her entire body. She opened her eyes after realizing that Li Yiming was gone, only to find her lover with a smoldering head, colored black by soot.
“Ah! I forgot!” Liu Meng exclaimed and rushed to check Li Yiming thoroughly for any injuries.
“What just… happened?” Li Yiming was still bewildered. ‘They say that the worst thing that could happen to you when you’re burning with lust is to be showered by a bucket of icy water. But what about a jet of fire baking your brains?’
“Mr. Kong… he told me that he used a special technique to wake me up, so I’m not entirely fused with the Phoenix yet. I can’t control my powers very well, so he told me to avoid strong emotions…” Liu Meng stammered.
“Does that mean that your fire is going to go out of control as soon as you get excited?”
“I don’t know… It’s never happened to me before, but… it seems like it.”
“Really…” Li Yiming touched his scalp again, but instead of his short hair, he found a layer of black dust.
“Sorry…” Liu Meng finalized her check and found Li Yiming unharmed, just a little disappointed and embarrassed.
“It’s okay, even Heaven’s fire didn’t kill me…” Li Yiming rubbed away the cinder on her palm and watched as the fire around Liu Meng’s receded. He wanted to try again, but the burning sensation on his forehead reminded him that he owed it to the glyph inside of his body more than anything else.
“I…” Liu Meng was twirling her long hair, just like a child who had just done something bad.
“Alright, what about… a hug? That should be fine, right?” Li Yiming slowly approached Liu Meng again and put his hand on her shoulders. He then wrapped his arms around Liu Meng carefully, taking every precaution necessary.
“It’s just a hug. Don’t get too excited.” Li Yiming was still worried.
“Hmmpf! That’ll teach you!” Liu Meng pinched Li Yiming on the thigh and then put her head down on his shoulders. It was actually enough for her to be able to be in Li Yiming’s embrace.
* * *
“So, uh, is there a reason why you shaved your hair and eyebrows again?” Eyeglasses gave an odd look when he saw Li Yiming hop off from the jeep.
“I like it that way. It’s cooler.” Li Yiming grumbled; he had burned all of his eyebrows the previous night after giving it another try with Liu Meng.
“Alright, we’re about to climb the mountain now. As I’ve said before, aside from Eyeglasses, you all need to take care of your own equipment. Li Yiming, are you sure that you don’t need this?” Lin Lu opened the trunk of the car and waved an M4 carbine at Li Yiming. She had verified that Li Yiming had really landed all five shots.
“It’s okay, I’m good with this.” Li Yiming lifted his jacket and showed the handgun that hung around his waist to Lin Lu. The last thing he wanted was to carry a heavy load while climbing a mountain. In fact, he did not even want to bring a handgun if it was not for the fact that he would raise one too many eyebrows.
“Overconfidence is not something I would commend.” Lin Lu started guessing again at Li Yiming’s area of expertise when she thought about what Liu Ke said about him. ‘If even his girlfriend is that strong, then he must be… but
“It’s okay. He’ll help me.” Eyeglasses dragged three chests down the car. These were full of equipment he needed.
“Seriously?” Li Yiming had a bad feeling.
“You think I want to carry all of this?” Eyeglasses rolled his eyes. ‘If only I was alone. I would just shove these into my ring and call it a day.’
“Well, I suppose I walked right into it.” Li Yiming chuckled. He picked up a bag and approached Liu Meng for a selfie. Ever since showing the picture of him and Liu Meng to Fu Bo, Li Yiming had gained a liking for taking pictures whenever he went.
“Hey, captain, do you have any points?” Eyeglasses suddenly came to Li Yiming after the latter had finished taking a picture with Liu Meng.
“What is it?”
“I didn’t bring enough blood with me. Could you go buy some animal blood for me in the marketplace? I used everything to level up,” Eyeglasses said hesitantly. He knew just how important Progression Points were for guardians.
“But… I…” Li Yiming had a hard time coming up with an excuse. He used to not care about these points at all, since he did not rely on them to become stronger, but he had lost everything, and, most importantly, he could not reveal the reason to Eyeglasses.
“You can use mine. I still have quite a lot.” Liu Meng knew that there was something off right away and intervened. Last night, Li Yiming had invited her to join the “Dissonance” squad.
“Alright, thanks. I’ll give it back to you next time.” Eyeglasses smiled and did not seem to be offended by Li Yiming’s hesitation.
“Alright, we should go. Our first stop is going to be at Xianyun Abbey. We’re going to stay there for the night and enter the mountain tomorrow morning.” Lin Lu turned back one last time and led the way with a rifle in her hands.
Li Yiming turned toward the two spec ops soldier, who were handling three robots with eight legs each.
“Spiderbots. These are provided by special ops. Domestically produced.” Eyeglasses explained.
“Wow.” Li Yiming glanced at the three robots, who were easily making their way through the mountainous terrain.
“Well, what? Did you expect us to carry these boxes?” Eyeglasses rolled his eyes again.
The group arrived at Xianyun Abbey at noon. The place was founded more than a thousand years ago, so it had quite a bit of history. When Li Yiming stepped inside, he was immediately captivated by the building’s calming atmosphere. It was a simple monastery, consisting of no more than a few rooms and a yard, and yet Li Yiming could tell that there was something unique about the discolored bricks that made up the walls and tiled the floor.
The courtyard was clean, devoid of dust and fallen leaves, while a stick of incense burned in a rusted metal vessel. The sound of the gongs and the chanting in the distance made the visitors feel like they were entering a realm which was separate from reality. Unlike all of the other sightseeing locations Li Yiming had visited, this one was a place of real tranquility.
“I thought this place was popular. What happened to the visitors?” Chen Quan put his massive backpack on the ground and sat down on the stairs at the entrance. His eyes wandered around and it seemed like he was looking for an opportunity to do his “job” more than anything.
“After the two previous teams went missing, the government shut the whole place down and made it forbidden for tourists to enter the area. Even Master Qingfeng chose to send all of his disciples home,” Lin Lu explained while giving the signal to her two subordinates to park the robots.
“Master Qingfeng is doing his recital right now. We should wait here for him to finish.” You Fang listened to the chanting carefully and instructed the rest of the team.
“Master Qingfeng is genuinely dedicated to his study, unlike the people who treat beliefs as nothing more than a tool to make money. The Dao Association had invited him to be their chairman several times, but he refused,” Eyeglasses treaded carefully and whispered to Li Yiming.
‘Oh?’ Li Yiming was a little surprised. He would have expected Lin Lu to give that kind of commendation, but for Eyeglasses, a guardian, to give Master Qingfeng such high praise must have meant that there was something truly special about the man.
Well then, I guess MC has a long way to go…
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