After Becoming the Hero's Ex-fiancée - Chapter 34
The Transient Realm (4.1)
The mountain wind was so strong that Zheng Wan was almost blown away from Cui Wang.
But the pair was sweating. A damp patch had already formed at the area where their bodies pressed against each other. Zheng Wan took a handkerchief to wipe off his sweat, but he dodged.
She moved her hand away nonchalantly.
“It’s been more than half a day, and we still haven’t reached the bottom.”
The bottom of the abyss was thick with dense clouds that were impossible for the naked eye to penetrate.
Cui Wang initially flew on his sword, but in less than half a zhang, he was forced to fall from his sword by the fierce winds. At that time, even Zheng Wan thought that her life was over, but he jammed the sword into the slippery surface of the cliff wall.
The cliff wall, which was hard to hurt with mortal iron, was pierced through by the sacred flying sword made of hundreds of rare materials, such as the water dragon’s horn and phoenix feathers. What happened after that was obvious.
The precious flying sword that he usually didn’t even let anyone look at, became a tool for digging holes to create footholds.
Even though Zheng Wan had little experience in such matters, she could see that Cui Wang was struggling. Puddles of sweat rolled off him, and after thrusting the sword into the cliff wall every few dozen times, his face would turn one shade paler. He struggled to find his balance as he made his way from hole to hole with her strapped to his back——After all, he was not yet the omnipotent and ruthless Sword Sovereign of the future; right now, he was still young and green.
“You can leave me behind, really.”
Then, you can fly up easily.
Over the course of the day, Zheng Wan had seen the same scenario unfold several times: a lone bird could easily fly over the chasm, while those in pairs were not so lucky—they would be caught by an inexplicable suction force and fall into the bottomless abyss.
“Hold on tight.”
Cui Wang reached out to tighten the white silk. As his body swayed from the movement, Zheng Wan shut her eyes instinctively. She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck; afraid that she might distract him, she swallowed the cry of exclamation in her throat.
There was a violent movement, and Zheng Wan felt herself fall for some time before stopping. When she opened her eyes again, she saw that the skin of Cui Wang’s left hand was almost completely scraped off, leaving a bright red imprint on the cliff wall. The other hand held the sword hilt in a tight grip—the crook between his thumb and forefinger was torn open, and the wound was deep enough to see bone; crimson blood fell drop by drop.
Zheng Wan’s throat suddenly tightened.
“You rest here first.”
The white silk tugged and brought Zheng Wan to one side with a gentle force. Only then did she discover that there was a sturdy evergreen pine growing out of the cliff wall. The forked branches were as thick as the circumference of an average arm span, which was an indication of its many years.
She stood and steadied herself; when she saw Cui Wang draw his sword and turn to leave, she hastily grabbed him. Her eyes revealed an emotional attachment that she herself was unaware of. “Mister Cui, where are you going? The wound hasn’t been bandaged yet.”
As soon the words came out of her lips, Zheng Wan found that her throat was so dry it seemed to be on fire. What was even more embarrassing was that she had not eaten the entire day, and her stomach had been empty since a long time ago. It had been suppressed by adrenaline earlier, but now that she was more relaxed, her stomach sounded like a drum.
Her face flushed crimson.
Cui Wang froze, then realised that he had overlooked something. Regular mortals don’t practice bigu1, and still need food for sustenance. He dug about in his Qiankun pouch2 for a while, and finally found the extra roast chicken he had bought as offerings for the ancestral tomb-sweeping ten days ago.
The oil paper it was wrapped in was still hot. He handed it over, thought about it, then also brought out a jade bottle.
“This is cherry dew. One drop can stimulate the salivary glands.”
Wouldn’t it be a waste to use it for quenching thirst? In the hands of a young cultivator in an elemental realm3, one drop would be enough for three days of cultivation. She guessed that this small bottle contained more than a hundred drops.
1 bigu fasting: 辟谷; means “avoiding grains”. Bigu is a Daoist fasting method associated with achieving xian “transcendence; immortality”. It has been interpreted to mean avoiding grains (wheat, rice, barley, millet, sorghum, etc.), or avoiding all food (e.g. taking talisman water). In the former interpretation, one might ingest a small amount of highly nutritious superfoods including foraged raw foods, medicinal herbs, and minerals. For more about this and the context that it came about: https://daoistgate.com/bigu-daoist-fasting/
2 Qiankun pouch: 乾坤囊 qiankun nang; ‘Qiankun’ refers to the Universe, encompassing both Heaven and Earth. Here, it is taken to mean that his pouch defies physical laws, and is essentially an infinite dimension/space—something like Doraemon’s pocket.
3 elemental realm: an enclosed space where one undergoes cultivation in solitude