Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
Chapter 4 – Astral Soul
As soon as they got back to the room, the immortal dropped Luo Xiao onto a chair, and his dark eyes flashed dangerously.
“I told you not to leave!” he said while his smile turned into a frown. The man’s beautiful face now radiated coldness, “Why can’t you listen?”
His stern tone made Luo Xiao shiver. His arms instinctively closed around himself to fend off any harm that might come. The man in front of him was scary, and he couldn’t help but try to run away, even if he had just seen how dangerous this world was to those without any strength.
“I won’t escape again, immortal,” he whispered weakly.
By now he had figured out that the man in front of him was a cultivator and a very strong one at that. The effortless fight and how easily he had cut off someone’s arm both spoke to this fact. As for what Heaven Rank meant, Luo Xiao had no idea.
Sighing, the handsome man straightened up. His hand went into his inner robe and took out a small crystal from a simple looking pouch.
“Take this,” he said while placing it into Luo Xiao’s palm. “Focus your spiritual energy and push it into this crystal.”
Luo Xiao’s fingers closed around the cold surface of the crystal before looking down at it. It had a milky shine to it and was almost too cold to hold. Listening to the immortal’s directions, Luo Xiao frowned.
What did the man mean by focus his spiritual energy and push it? He had never cultivated, after all, so he didn’t know even the most basic things even though he had read many books.
“You don’t even know how to do that?” the immortal’s smile had returned as he noticed that Luo Xiao was confused about what was required of him.
“I don’t know how to focus spiritual energy, Sir Immortal,” Luo Xiao whispered, holding the crystal carefully.
The handsome man’s smile waned a bit as he looked at Luo Xiao for a few long, tedious seconds.
“My name is Jiang Yao, not Sir Immortal,” he said with some annoyance in his voice, “and this is a soul-testing stone.”
“The soul-testing stone checks the quality of your soul. Ninety-nine percent of all humans have a Mortal Soul, but there are a few with Spiritual Souls or even Heavenly Souls.”
“You were able to kill that corpse puppet, even if you deny it, and therefore, your soul has to be special. You just might be of use to me after all.” His dashing smile had returned, and his eyes seemed to have pinned Luo Xiao down making it impossible for him to move an inch or even speak.
“Now close your eyes and focus on your inner self. There you will find your soul power, also known as spiritual energy. This spiritual energy can be used with but a thought, though it requires some training.”
Luo Xiao dared not hesitate and closed his eyes as he searched within. When he closed his eyes, everything was dark, but slowly, he found a bright, golden light source that shone brightly.
It was a small orb of light between his eyebrows, deep within his mind. This had to be the special spiritual energy that Jiang Yao was talking about.
Luo Xiao hesitated for a moment, not sure how to use this light orb. But after some consideration, he remembered that Jiang Yao said that it was moved with his will.
He then willed a strand of energy to leave his mind and enter the stone in his hand. He tried to make it leave his mind through his head and enter the stone, but found that it was incapable of leaving his head. It seemed this light strand was only capable of moving through his body.
Frowning, the young man didn’t panic, but instead, started guiding it through his body and into his palm. From there it was sucked towards the stone.
When he opened his eyes, he was instantly blinded by a bright golden light. The light was so strong that he was incapable of keeping his eyes open and tears got caught in his long eyelashes as he quickly turned his head away.
Lou Xiao was stumped, and Jiang Yao was also surprised. His usually controlled expressions displayed an instant of complete shock then joy. Afterwards, a sly smile formed as he lifted his hand and gently rubbed his chin.
Luo Xiao was blinded for a few moments. He also felt weak after losing that strand of energy, but at the same time, he felt that his mind was much clearer than ever before.
The stone in his hand had cracked. When Luo Xiao noticed this, his eyes widened in horror, and he glanced at Jiang Yao with fear.
“Sir… Mister Jiang, I’m afraid I did something wrong,” he said with a trembling voice. “The stone… the stone cracked!”
His voice was filled with horror. He didn’t have many positive impressions of the handsome man by his side. Although he had saved him from slavery, the young man was still unsure whether or not he was going to have his soul refined and eaten by this assumed to be immortal demon.
“Throw it away, it’s useless,” Jiang Yao said. He had completely disregarded the now useless stone as he watched Luo Xiao with his calculating, sinister gaze.
“But, Mister Jiang!” Luo Xiao barely managed to gasp. His hand tightened around the broken crystal as he almost trembled with terror.
“I said to throw it away. Did you not hear me?” Jiang Yao asked impatiently with a frown. He was clearly displeased with Luo Xiao who quickly nodded his head like a chicken pecking grains.
Seeing this spineless behavior, Jiang Yao felt a bit better. At least this child listened to him, even though he was deathly afraid of him.
“What’s your name, kid?” He suddenly asked. So far he had just called him kid within his mind, but seeing that he had some value, he decided to learn his name.
“Luo Xiao,” Luo Xiao answered timidly while looking at the cracked soul-testing stone in his hand. He felt it was such a pity to throw out such a treasure. It had displayed such a magnificent golden light before, and now, he wanted to see it once more.
“Well then Xiaoxiao, you are going to follow me in the future,” Jiang Yao said with a grin on his face, but although he seemed to be in a great mood, Luo Xiao knew better than to trust his deceiving smile. He knew that Jiang Yao was almost always smiling even when he was in a bad mood. Luo Xiao didn’t even notice his name had been changed to Xiaoxiao.
He kept his mouth shut, but he refused to nod his head. Although he was spineless and scared of this person in front of him, he was not going to just forfeit his life.
Seemingly understanding what was happening in the mind of the child, Jiang Yao snickered. He usually hated spineless, easily scared people, but for some reason, this child amused him and caused him to feel a breath of fresh air.
“I need you to do something for me,” the handsome man said with a smile on his face as if it was everyone’s honor to do something for him. Though hearing this, Luo Xiao’s expression clearly showed that it wasn’t his honor, he did not want this task.
Sighing, Jiang Yao realized that he had to do things differently, if he wished to motivate this child.
“Did you lose someone dear to you in the attack of that corpse puppet?” he asked and felt a pang in his heart the moment tears welled up in Luo Xiao’s eyes. The young boy nodded his head and wiped away his tears.
He said nothing, but it was clear that he had lost someone important. When Jiang Yao arrived at the village, he saw that there were no survivors other than Luo Xiao. For this reason, he could guess that this child had lost everyone he had ever depended on.
“Don’t you want revenge?” he asked. Hearing this, Luo Xiao’s head jerked up, and he looked at Jiang Yao with big eyes filled with slight hope but also grief.
Knowing that he had hooked the young man’s attention, Jiang Yao smirked, satisfied with himself.
“Well, I guess you would want revenge. Listen up, souls are ranked from Mortal, Spiritual, and Heavenly all the way to the peak of Astral, the highest rank of a soul.
“Just like how we cultivate Qi, our inner energies, others cultivate their soul or their spiritual energy.”
“Your soul is an Astral Soul. I have been looking for such a person for some years now, but people with such souls are very hard to come by, and those that I had found were already claimed by others,” Jiang Yao said.
Once again, Luo Xiao stiffened. Was it really true that his soul was to be refined and consumed now that he had an Astral Soul? He feared the worst.
Jiang Yao chuckled at the boy’s expression. He could easily guess the thoughts of this young boy. In fact, the boy was so bad at hiding his feelings, that they might as well be written on his forehead.
“What I need is for you to do something for me when you reach a specific rank,” Jiang Yao explained, “I am going to do everything in my power to assist you in reaching said rank as soon as possible, but in return, you will become mine.”
Luo Xiao’s heart beat rapidly at those words. Although he knew that Jiang Yao meant that his life would become his, he had never heard anyone say such suggestive things to him before, and his face flushed red.
Noticing his strange reaction, Jiang Yao’s eyebrows rose, and he felt a strange joy within. Teasing this little soul cultivator seemed to be rather entertaining.
“How do you know that you can trust me?” Luo Xiao asked tentatively, but a bright smile appeared on Jiang Yao’s face. “I will place a soul seal on you so as long as you don’t betray me, nothing will happen, but should you betray me, then you will have your soul destroyed by the heavens,” he said with a laugh.
Luo Xiao’s eyes widened in surprise and fear. Have his soul destroyed? This was not something he wanted to experience.
“Don’t worry, when you have done the things I need you to do for me, then I will release you,” he said. Luo Xiao understood that, at least for now, he had no other option than to accept his offer. He knew that should he decline then he would be dead in seconds.
“In return for your support, I will help you gain vengeance against the person who created the corpse puppet that killed your village.”
Gritting his teeth, Luo Xiao nodded his head and accepted his fate. It seemed like he was attached to this handsome, strong immortal cultivator, but since he had promised to help him take revenge, it was not all that bad.
Luo Xiao hung his head dejectedly, and seeing that he accepted his fate, the smile on Jiang Yao’s face grew larger.
“Come here,” he called out, and Luo Xiao hesitated for a moment before he slowly walked towards the handsome man.
He stopped three meters away from Jiang Yao, but it seemed like it was not close enough as Jiang Yao lifted a hand and beckoned him even closer.
He moved another meter closer, then another after Jiang Yao told him to keep coming closer, until he finally stood in front of him. Luo Xiao was slightly nervous as Jiang Yao had been carefully and curiously observing him the whole time.
“Close your eyes,” he ordered, and Luo Xiao did that again, hesitatingly. When he did, Jiang Yao realized that this boy had eyelashes longer than most women and that his face was simply charming when it was held high with closed eyes as it was now.
Jiang Yao felt odd. He had seen many beauties in his time, been with many of them before as they threw themselves at his feet, but right now he felt that he had never before seen a creature as beautiful as this human boy.