Chapter 35: Its name is Green (Part Two)
“This sign is the pact between you and Green and won’t come off until the end of your life. Now it’s your mount. No matter where you are, when you silently chant the secret words that I just taught you, Green will appear before you,” after the Life Tree said the words, the land fell into silence.
“Come on. I’ll take you to the exit of the forest.”
Green’s tone was neither humble nor proud. For spirit horses, their users were not their masters, but their partners and friends, which was why nothing could stop them from going to their pact partners when they were summoned; they’d leap down a cliff or into an ocean of fire without hesitation so long as their pact partners wanted.
Xia Qiu felt more at ease when she mounted the horse again. She remembered Green’s instruction and sat on its back lightly. The moment she sat down, Green began to run and brought her back to the riverbank where they had met.
“Walk straight ahead and you’ll find the maze path leading to Yongchuan. I believe your guide told you to make a mark, so you can find the right tree,” Green stopped and said to her.
Xia Qiu dismounted and studied her pact partner again, imprinting its beautiful look onto her mind. Then she reached out and touched its forehead; it closed its green eyes and let her stroke it.
“Remember the secret words. We’ll meet again very soon!” Green told her before they parted.
She walked back and found the tree with her red string; without hesitation, she walked into the tree and returned to Yongchuan through the maze path.
“Is everything okay?” Ouyang Xiaoleng was waiting at the entrance and looked relieved when she came out. Obviously, he had been worried about her.
“You were in there for a long time. I remember it didn’t take me so long to get my horse.” Qianqi had come with Ouyang Xiaoleng to wait for her.
“Probably because I’m a human and the Life Tree needed to explain things to me. It was quite risky.” Xia Qiu remembered that she almost got stampeded by the spirit horses; fortunately, Green appeared in time to stop it.
“Tell me about your spirit horse.” Qianqi’s eyes were full of curiosity.
“Its name is Green, a pure white spirit horse.” As she spoke, she stole a glance at Ouyang Xiaoleng.
His face twitched when he heard the name and he murmured to himself, “That’s a very good spirit horse!”
“Yeah. I think so, too.” Xia Qiu nodded and smiled at him.
They spent the night in the Fuxing Hall. Fatigued after her adventure in the Yellow Spring Kingdom, Xia Qiu fell asleep quickly. Then she dreamed of the Plum Blade again. Still dressed in a red gown and wearing the expressionless white mask, Plum Blade sat under a plum tree; before her was a small blanket on which were placed a wine pot and wine cups. She asked Xia Qiu to sit down across from her and filled a cup of wine for Xia Qiu.
“Drink the plum wine.” The Plum Blade pulled up her long sleeve and handed the cup to her.
Xia Qiu took it and saw a small red plum blossom floating in the wine. Looking at the beautiful view, she exclaimed, “So pretty!”
She drained it and felt a bit dizzy but not uncomfortable. She laid down on the ground like a feather and Plum Blade put her head on her knees. Xia Qiu fell asleep; it felt amazing that she could dream in her dream. She felt she was engulfed in a fragrant scent which smelled like flowers and wine; intoxicated in the scent, she wanted to sleep forever and never wake up.
When she opened her eyes again, she found she was still in her room. Sitting up, she felt lightened all over and her fatigue was totally gone. Faintly she remembered the Plum Blade seemed to have transferred part of her spirit power into her body while she was drunk in the dream. Maybe it was why she felt so energetic.
The next morning, the three youths went to say farewell to Ouyang Yong. Immediately, he noticed the change in Xia Qiu. After hearing her explanation, he found the answer. “Plum wine can help people unblock blood veins and meridians and soothe the nerves. The Plum Blade used it to cleanse the remaining poisonous substance from Mother Rakshasa and the turbid presence from the Yellow Spring. Then she entered Xia Qiu’s dream and transferred part of her power into Xia Qiu, so Xia Qiu can recover her strength very quickly.”
“Does it mean that the Plum Blade’s strength is weakened?” Xia Qiu was touched by what the Plum Blade had done for her; meanwhile she was worried for it even though she knew it was an extraordinary weapon.
“Yes, but only temporarily. The biggest difference between the Plum Blade and other weapons is that she has life and can recover and grow with her users. When you grow stronger, she’ll become stronger, too. So, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Ouyang Yong began to pant after this short explanation, and sweat slid down his forehead. The youths knew they must let him rest, so they said farewell to him and Elder Cheng and set off toward Nanzhe City.
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