Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
Chapter 5 – Soul Seal
Luo Xiao had his eyes shut, unsure of what was happening. He was completely unaware of the fact that his appearance had entranced Jiang Yao.
Jiang Yao shook his head and frowned, but he did not waste any time. He formed marks in the air with his finger as Qi flowed out from his body and into the seal.
This seal shot towards Luo Xiao’s forehead and landed right between his eyes. It then entered into his body and went towards his mind.
Soon the seal surrounded the golden orb within his head and they seemed to merge together.
Luo Xiao felt a shiver run through his body, and he suddenly felt incredibly weak. The golden orb that had previously shone incredibly bright had dimmed, and Luo Xiao staggered before he was caught in the arms of Jiang Yao.
“Ah right,” Jiang Yao said, “you haven’t cultivated before, so it’s only natural for you to feel weak when the seal merges with your soul.”
Luo Xiao shuddered. He felt uncomfortable about the fact that he had made such a deal, but when the images of everyone he knew, half eaten and dead appeared in his mind, he steeled his resolve.
This handsome man had promised him revenge. There was no reason for him to promise Luo Xiao anything as the latter’s life was already in his hands, so if he promised something, he must actually mean it.
Selling his soul for the sake of a chance at revenge… Was that really such a bad trade? While thinking about it, Luo Xiao’s hands clenched tightly. His nails dug into his flesh, so deep that blood started to drip from his fingers.
Seeing this reaction from Luo Xiao, Jiang Yao smirked evilly. He needed an Astral Soul for that specific task, but he had never expected to find one in such a manner.
Although this Luo Xiao was weak, he could be trained, and it was likely that this method would yield even better results than any other random Astral Soul he would come across.
Jiang Yao was in a great mood since having come across Luo Xiao, but he said nothing of the sort to the younger man.
“Stay here,” he ordered again before he left the room and vanished. Luo Xiao had no clue where he had gone, but considering that he had already sold his soul for the sake of revenge, he knew that if he ran away, his soul would shatter.
In fact, the soul seal was not as horrifying as Luo Xiao imagined. Although it would shatter his soul if he betrayed Jiang Yao, it wouldn’t do anything if he just left the room. Leaving the room was not the same as betrayal, but Luo Xiao was unaware of this.
He sat down on the bed and before he knew it, his eyelids turned heavy, and he fell into a sleep plagued by nightmares.
Images of his dead friends and the horrifying purple corpse puppet with its blood-red eyes and thick, nauseating scent of blood chasing after him haunted his dreams. Time after time, the terrifying creature forced him into a corner. He found his hands covered in the blood of the puppet and his vision went black more than once.
He tossed and turned in bed while whimpering and crying out loud when Jiang Yao returned to the room. For the first time in many years, Jiang Yao was unsure of what to do.
Should he wake the child up or let him sleep? Both sides had advantages and disadvantages. In the end, when he saw the agonized expressions on the boy’s face, he could no longer wait and moved to the bed where he lightly shook the younger man’s body.
Luo Xiao jolted awake. Tears streamed from his eyes as they slowly focused on the person in front of him.
“Mister Jiang,” He said, but Jiang Yao lifted his hand. “Stop calling me Mister, it sounds weird,” he said with a frown on his face.
“Then what should I call you?” Luo Xiao asked hesitantly while wiping his tears and trying to overcome his feelings of loneliness. He tried to do his best to not think of the nightmares he just had.
He knew that he was all alone in the world now. All he had was this strange man that clearly wanted to use him for something, and this made him even more depressed. As for what this something was, he had not the faintest idea.
He felt terrible, but he dared not let it show on his face. He didn’t want to display his sadness out of fear of the immortal in front of him.
“Just call me Jiang Yao,” he said after a bit of consideration. Not many were given the honor of using his name, but for some reason he wanted this child to do so.
Luo Xiao was petrified, was this not considered too rude? But since the immortal said so, he had no other options than to comply. So he nodded his head with hesitation still evident on his beautiful face.
Seeing him agree, Jiang Yao’s smile turned even wider. This caused Luo Xiao to be petrified.
Seeing the young boy’s honest feelings entertained the older man, but he said nothing. He just chuckled and waved his hand. Suddenly a book of unknown origin appeared within it.
Jiang Yao then handed the book to Luo Xiao who picked it up carefully. Although it was old, it had been well maintained. But he could tell that the pages were fragile from extensive use over the years.
“This is one of the best soul cultivation manuals in this world,” Jiang Yao said, clearly immensely satisfied with himself. “Start reading it and cultivate in accordance with what is written.”
Luo Xiao had never expected things to proceed this fast, but he nodded his head rapidly. After which he sat down on the floor with the book in his lap.
The calligraphy of the book was exquisite. It was unlike any book Luo Xiao had read before. But he still managed to understand what it said, although it took him longer to read it than it typically would have.
It took a full day to read the rather small book, but when he finished, he felt enlightened.
Warriors had Qi, and their Qi was a type of inner energy that would increase when one absorbed and refined the essence of the heavens and the earth. However, to cultivate Qi, one needed a healthy body and physical strength.
Similarly, there were people with strong souls. They could take the same essence, but instead of strengthening their inner energy, they could use it to create spiritual energy, the energy of the soul.
The book explained how one should breathe and absorb the essence of the heavens and the earth. Then how one should merge this energy with their golden orb, which he now knew that it was called the Soul Palace. It was here, in the Soul Palace, where one’s soul resided.
Having understood the method of cultivation, Luo Xiao wasted no time. He gently placed the book by his side before closing his eyes. Afterwards, he put his hands in his lap and began breathing according to the description in the book.
The whole time, Jiang Yao sat by his side, ready to assist him should any issues with understanding the book or other hardships arise.
Unfortunately, he was disappointed when he found that the child had managed to understand everything on his own, but he was also thrilled. The stronger the boy’s Astral Soul became, the better it was for him.
He waited by his side the whole day for Luo Xiao to understand and comprehend the book’s content. Now, he watched the youngster throughout the night as he cultivated.
When he realized that he was just sitting there, doing nothing other than staring at the young boy who was almost glowing with energy, he realized that this was not like him at all. People waited for him; he didn’t wait for others.
Still, he didn’t get upset; instead, he found it amusing and interesting. This child made him more and more curious.
“How lucky that he was an Astral Soul, so I didn’t have to kill him,” Jiang Yao suddenly muttered to himself in delight, but the moment the words escaped his lips, Luo Xiao opened his eyes.
Jiang Yao thought he had heard him and felt slightly guilty, but moments after, he noticed a clueless look in Luo Xiao’s eyes as if he was completely unaware of what was going on.
“How’d it go?” Jiang Yao asked, and Luo Xiao pondered for a moment, “I should officially be a soul cultivator now. My spiritual energy has reached the Low Earth Rank for now.”
The energy of soul cultivators was split up the same way as Qi cultivators into Earth, Sky, Star, Moon, and those above that Luo Xiao still didn’t know of.
But where the Qi cultivators had seven stars to each rank, soul cultivators only had Low, Middle, and High classifications: they had just these three per rank.
Jiang Yao’s eyes flickered when he heard that he had already stepped into the Low Earth Rank, and he was very pleased.
“Go get some sleep,” Jiang Yao ordered him, and Luo Xiao, although having cultivated, felt rather tired. Therefore, he did exactly as instructed and headed to the bed where he laid down.
Just as he laid down, a thought suddenly occurred in his mind, “Mi… Jiang Yao, are you not going to sleep?” he asked.
“I don’t need to sleep anymore,” Jiang Yao stated, but then his eyes gleamed sadistically, “don’t tell me that you want me to sleep with you? Are you afraid of the nightmares?”
Luo Xiao froze in the middle of his movement, and he shook his head fiercely, the horror evident on his face.
Although he was horrified by the nightmares, he was even more scared of sleeping next to this person. Although he was strong and treated him quite nicely, he had a feeling that something was odd. There was no reason for him to suddenly take such interest in him, even if he had an Astral Soul.
As if he feared that Jiang Yao would really do what he had said, Luo Xiao took the blanket on the bed and rolled himself up in it. Then he scuttled to the far end of the bed. He was as far as he could be and would fall off if he were to move in his sleep.
Seeing his reaction, Jiang Yao couldn’t help but laugh. Joking with this child was definitely the most fun he had in a very long time.
Jiang Yao waited until Luo Xiao was completely asleep before he went to look at him. It wasn’t until he knew he was in a deep sleep with no signs of nightmares, that he left the room.
The sun was rising in the sky by the time Jiang Yao exited the magnificent inn. Although one usually gained energy from cultivating, one had to remember that Luo Xiao had just fused with a soul seal. He was weak through and through.
A couple of hours went by before Jiang Yao returned to the room, only to find that Luo Xiao was now sleeping on the floor. It was clear that he had fallen from the bed, but the impact had not been enough to wake him.
Chuckling, Jiang Yao picked him up and gently laid him down on the bed again. Looking at the young soul cultivator, he was once more entranced by his stunning appearance.