Chapter 46 - Backflow
Fang Shui’er escaped toward the outskirts of the city with Shao Xian as soon as the battle started. As she felt the soul-binding spell cast on her fade away gradually, she looked back, confused. ‘Am I not supposed to die if this spell goes away? What happened Li Yiming?’
Fang Shui’er’s heart trembled with fear as she remembered the full extent of the sages’ powers when they took off to seek their destinies above the clouds. After looking at the unconscious Shao Xian, she somehow had a feeling that she was not going to regret her decision of saving her life.
“What?” Fang Shui’er froze right as she was about to enter a building nearby to rest. ‘The soul-binding seal… It’s back! And even more powerful than before?! I thought Li Yiming was dead…’
* * *
“Fate has it that I won’t perish here today! Answer me, Li Yiming, how did you manage to survive until now with your utter stupidity? Did you truly believe I would be willing to help you?” Mr. Xie waved and more luminous glyphs flew into the watch above Li Yiming’s head.
“I’ll kill you!” Li Yiming was enraged.
“Kill me? Can you?’ Mr. Xie let out a loud laugh.
“Your were previously a sage. What about before that? Were you a sage still?” Mr. Xie licked his lips and the clock above Li Yiming began spinning furiously, draining all of Li Yiming’s power away.
Li Yiming spat out a mouthful of blood as he wondered about his naive decision of betting it all on Mr. Xie to rescue Liu Meng once again. If he had to sacrifice his own life to save his loved one, then so be it. However, he felt so powerless in his current state, he could not protect anyone dear to him.
Li Yiming had more than enough experience to understand that this domain had not been created for the sole purpose of killing him. He was at most a pawn in the grand scheme of things, and there was something much bigger going on.
However, as the golden watch above him continued to spin, more and more of his life force began to fade away.
“Why are there still sages fighting after Li Yiming’s death? Are Wu Yun and Yun Yiyuan fighting each other?” Sai Gao looked up from the city sewers.
Fissures began to appear on Li Yiming’s skin, as if he was a glass panel put under too much pressure.
“Making a sage fall from his pedestal… Not bad.” Yun Yiyuan said as he grew wary of Mr. Xie’s newfound power.
“Ahahaha! Li Yiming! How does it feel to lose your sage powers? Don’t worry, this is only the beginning! I’m going to send you all the way back to nothingness!” Mr. Xie smiled cruelly. Knowing full well that his excess of power was time-limited, meaning that his only chance of survival was to kill Li Yiming within that brief time window.
Mr. Xie took a deep breath and suddenly thrust his hand into his own chest. With a savage roar, he plucked his own still-beating heart out.
“I sacrifice my heart and my soul!” Mr. Xie yelled as silver lines appeared on his heart, his face, and within his pupils.
Li Yiming spat out another mouthful of blood. Although all of his powers were being drained away, he was not as distraught as one normally would be. He looked up at the golden orb in the sky and pondered about his own mortality. His power had already declined to level three, so he was practically defenseless.
‘It’s over…’ Li Yiming closed his eyes and submitted to his fate — he has had enough of this crazy world.
As the clock continued to spin furiously, it began to emit a bright glow, like a miniature sun. Li Yiming felt weakened to the point that he could not even open his own eyes or breathe.
“He has thirty seconds left…” Yun Yiyuan said as he looked at Li Yiming, who had the body of a child now.
“Now is the best time to kill him!” Ying Mei said eagerly.
Yun Yiyuan looked at Ying Mei and clung onto his weapon.
“Enjoy it while you can! You will get to see the very start of your own life!” As blood continued to gush out of his chest, Mr. Xie let out another shriek and continued to shoot out more glyphs into the watch.
Li Yiming had now shrunk into an infant, his limbs becoming short and plump.
“It’ll be too late if we don’t kill him!” Ying Mei urged.
“It’s already too late.” Yun Yiyuan said coldly, but his expression suggested that he was expecting a miracle.
“Die!” Mr. Xie clapped his hands together and sent out one last glyph.
The hands of the watch paused briefly before resuming spinning intensely, emitting a brighter light than before. Li Yiming quickly went from having a body of an infant to being a small ball of flesh, until he finally vanished.
“I’ve… I’ve done it!” Mr. Xie let out a cry of triumph despite his gaping wound.
“It’s over?” Yun Yiyuan looked at where Li Yiming disappeared: not a single trace of him remained.
Fang Shui’er, who was at the other side of the city, suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood onto her armored mask and fell to the ground.
“This…” Fang Shui’er knew that something terrible has happened to Li Yiming.
“Don’t worry, I’ll erect a gravestone for you when I become a sage, hahaha!” Mr. Xie, who was also on the verge of death, waited eagerly for his reward, as it would allow him to instantly transcend his limits permanently and mend all of his wounds.
“To exchange my body for a fresh start, and to split my soul from it…” A sorrowful voice was suddenly heard.
“Who is it? Who?” Mr. Xie trembled and looked around, only to find no one.
“Those who strive to become the strongest in this life, those who linger in their past, those who wish for a better future life… One is lying to himself, while another is obsessed with pursuing the truth. They’re all wrong. I was wrong… Maybe you’re right.” The voice continued.
“Who is it? Come out!” Mr. Xie looked around, growing more and more anxious.
“It really is him?” Yun Yiyuan’s countenance shifted completely. He looked at where Li Yiming disappeared with fear and confusion, to the point that his concealment technique was affected.
“Yun Yiyuan?” Mr. Xie instantly caught onto the detail and turned toward Yun Yiyuan’s hiding spot with spite.
However, before Mr. Xie could lash out at Yun Yiyuan, he noticed something and jumped back, turning toward where Li Yiming vanished with incredulous eyes. A blustering wind was suddenly formed, and a veil of dust ensued. In the eye of the storm, a silhouette could be seen, walking out from behind the grey curtain.
“You’re alive?” Mr. Xie could not believe his eyes.
“That’s not Li Yiming…” Yun Yiyuan clung onto his spear as he looked on with trepidation.
Li Yiming stood there, looking like a completely different person. There were no signs of a technique being used, or even that he was a guardian at all, but even Yun Yiyuan’s hand began shaking uncontrollably.
“How the world has changed…” Li Yiming’s eyes went from the sky to Mr. Xie.
“You… you’re his past life!” Mr. Xie pointed at Li Yiming, having understood the unintended effects of his spell.