Liang Chen's brows furrowed slightly as Ye Zhong's voice reached him from the Bloodwind Code. There were preciously few people who knew him well enough to want to deliver something to him, and when he counted in the people capable of contacting the Bloodwind Emperor to have him use a disciple to deliver this message, the exact number of people that fit this bill dropped to 0.
If he were to guess then there would only be about three people capable of this, Chang Yun, The Nine Star Demon God, and the youth that was likely the Void King. But none of them would have any reason to contact him through the Bloodwind Code, they should just be able to locate him on their own.
"...Unless my earlier guess was correct..."
That was the most logical conclusion that Liang Chen could reach at the moment. He had tried to call out to Chang Yun and some others earlier when he first realized where he was, but none of them had answered him. Not even the Sealing God Empyrean had reacted when Liang Chen called out his actual name, prompting him to guess that they may not be able to sense him calling out to them while he was in this Mystic's Hidden realm, or at least while he was inside a hidden realm located within another hidden realm.
"Whatever the case is...Someone, not something, huh?"
Liang Chen hadn't missed this particular wording used by Ye Zhong. They weren't going to deliver him something, they were going to send a person to him. He wasn't so cocky that he thought Chang Yun and the others would pay any attention to Yi Xue and the others, meaning that it was more likely that the person they wanted to send over was tied to Yan Ling. After all, she was the only one he knew who had any sort of ties to people on the level of Chang Yun and the Bloodwind Emperor.
"Well, won't know until we see it for ourselves, eh."
Liang Chen muttered to himself once more and brought out his Bloodwind Code, holding the red bead in the centre of his palm as he poured his energy into it. It quickly lit up brightly, a brilliant beam of light shooting into the sky and vanishing from sight.
It didn't take long for the beacon to show its effect, a groaning sound reverberating throughout the surroundings as the air around Liang Chen started to quiver. A tear appeared in the air a short distance away from Liang Chen, invisible fingers digging into it and tearing it open like you would a wound, a voice leaking out as the tear was torn open.
"So this is where you were hiding. It's a good place, a hidden realm within a hidden realm, multiple layers of space stacking on top of each other to block even the keenest senses. Even Milord would need to spend a fair amount of effort to penetrate all the layers, and he'd still have to find it first. This cradle seems to continuously birth interesting things."
Following the voice was a young man, both his eyes and hair a strikingly bright silver in colour. Liang Chen was sure that he hadn't seen this man before so his vigilance quietly rose, his Qi already starting to seethe. But the man simply swept his gaze around without much interest before settling it on Liang Chen.
"Being vigilant like that is good, it saved Milord a lot when he was weaker. I'm only here to deliver something since Sirius asked me for a favour. You, come out now so I can leave."
The man turned his head as he spoke, Liang Chen's pupils shrinking slightly. He didn't know who this man was, but he had heard the name Sirius before. Star God Sirius, the progenitor of the Sky Wolves from which Yan Ling's family got their bloodline, he was also a follower of the Nine Star Demon God.
The sound of quick steps came from the spatial tear after the man turned his head, the sound rapidly growing louder as someone approached. And before long, someone bounced out of the spatial tear as if they were playing around, an energetic voice arriving alongside her.
"Paparan, I have arrived!"
The girl that bounced out from the spatial tear stood in the air with her hands on her waist and her chest puffed out, the very image of adorable pride as she held her head high. The girl looked like she had barely turned 10, her eyes as blue as the sky and her hair as white as snow. The hair hung down to her waist and was tied into a single neat braid, the exact same type of braid that Yan Ling used.
"You... Little Lan? You're the one that's being delivered? Is Ling'er with you?"
Liang Chen couldn't help but be a bit dumbfounded as he looked at the girl, needing a second to recognize her. Lan Yun, the girl that had appeared in the egg that he and Yan Ling had picked up on Tripartite Planet. The last time he had seen her she was only as big as a girl in her first or second year so it really couldn't be helped that he didn't recognize her right away.
She should have been with either Yan Ling or Yan Ying, but Yan Ying was likely in the domain of the Nine Star Demon God and Yan Ling was in a different multiverse so Lan Yun should by no means be here right now. Lan Yun lowered her head to look at Liang Chen, but unlike her, the passage of time had barely left any marks on him. In truth, she had already recognized him before she had even left the spatial tear, there was no way she would mistake his scent.
"Paparan, Mamaran, sent me here!"
Lan Yun dove down as she decreed, practically launching herself at Liang Chen. But she was still easily caught by, his hands resting under her armpits as he held her high, smiling softly. In the past, she had called him Papan, but now it seemed like she had upgraded even that strange title all the way to Paparan. And of course, he was more than just a bit certain that Yan Ling had more than just a hand in this evolution of his title.
"The package has been delivered, my job here is done."
While Liang Chen was holding Lan Yun, the voice of the young man that had brought her here sounded out. He didn't even cast a second glance at Liang Chen's group before he turned around and stepped into the spatial tear, disappearing from the area. Liang Chen still remembered his first meeting with the Nine Star Demon God so he could only say that this young man was far less sociable than the Nine Star Demon God had been. But that didn't really matter much to Liang Chen, different people had different strokes, so he returned his attention to the little girl that was kicking her legs while he held her up.
"So Mamaran sent you all the way over here, did she give you a message to bring along to old Paparan?"
Liang Chen knew Yan Ling well, if she sent Lan Yun to him rather than to Yan Ying then there was definitely some reason behind it. It may end up being a dumb reason but it would be a reason nonetheless, and she would definitely include a message to explain that reason. Especially if it was a dumb reason, she'd include the message just to exasperate him if that was the case.
"Yeah yeah! Mamaran gave me this and said I should give it to Paparan!"
Lan Yun nodded her head rapidly a few times before swiping her interspatial ring, a dark orange bead appearing in her hand. She dropped the bead onto Liang Chen's face, a bit of wind appearing around him as he prevented it from landing on him. He sank his mind into the bead to check the message left in it, Lan Yun bringing out a ceramic plate covered in runes and pointing it at his face.
"Heyo, Little Freak! Did it surprise you, shock you? Are you flabbergasted by how much she's grown? She's adorable isn't she, got perfectly pinchable cheeks, doesn't she? Turns out that the flow of time in this multiverse isn't the same as in the one we came from so you must definitely be shocked by how much she grew despite not much time passing for you."
Liang Chen felt the corners of his mouth curve up and twitch slightly as the somewhat teasing voice resounded in his mind. Of course, Yan Ling would start the message like this, why would she bother saying something normal when she could mess with him like this? He could tell that the ceramic plate Lan Yun was holding was likely recording his expression right now, definitely a plot that Yan Ling had driven into her.
"But you can't mistreat her just because she's grown bigger, alright? I'm heading into an area that's somewhat special and a bit dangerous so I can't bring her along, and while I thought about sending her to Big Brother, I felt that it's been too long since she last saw her dear Paparan so I sent her over to you. You're a little ball of chaos so you're definitely knee-deep in shit right now, but you'll be able to protect her, won't you? No matter what evil or danger comes here way, you'll deflect it without problem, right? After all, she's our dear little daughter, isn't she?"
That was the end of the message that Yan Ling had recorded in the bead, her tone at the end so soft and loving that Liang Chen felt his heart melt. At the same time, he also felt more than a bit of guilt. Back when she had first left with the Nine Star Demon God, she had just lost most of her family, only her brother left alive.
As such, how could she not place all the more importance on Lan Yun, how could she not pour all her heart into this little girl? And while she was in that state, she and Liang Chen had split up and gone their separate ways. It was by her choice, but Liang Chen should still have done everything he could to establish a way to contact her, to help her with the pain she was undoubtedly experiencing, to show her that she hadn't lost everything.
But how funny was it that while Liang Chen was thinking this, Yan Ling was thinking the exact same thing? Liang Chen had lost his parents at an early age, and when he finally managed to return to his home planet he had lost his only sister and his only friend. He had lost practically everything, and then she had left so that she could stand with him in the future, leaving him with nothing but the fire in his chest.
And while Liang Chen didn't know it, this was one of the reasons she had sent Lan Yun over to him instead of over to Yan Ying. To remind him that he hadn't lost everything, he still had Yumao, her, Lan Yun, even Yan Ying, he had yet to end up alone. And in that same vein, she had sent over Lan Yun to prevent his heart from falling too deeply, to stop his nature from being polluted by the evil he waded in on a daily basis.
Both of them knew the other extremely well, but at this moment neither of them realized how focused their thoughts were on the other person. Both of them were so focused on making sure that the other didn't feel alone that they didn't even pay attention to themselves, they truly were idiots growing from the same branch.
"Well, seems like our little group has grown once again. Yumao, you still aren't allowed to bully your little sister, be nice to her. And Little Lan, don't torment Yumao too much. And oh, you also can't be mean to this little flower, she may end up being your little sister in the future, understood?"
Liang Chen sat down as he spoke, placing Lan Yun down in front of him while gesturing towards the lotus resting on his shoulder. The leaves of the flower fluttered towards Lan Yun as Liang Chen spoke, his earlier help had already allowed the plant to gain enough sentience to understand him. Lan Yun also responded energetically, saluting in an exaggerated manner.
"Understood, Paparan! I'll be good, I promise!"