Ch.80: From another’s view
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The girl had her white, small feet hanging in the pond, looking at the koi that swam around. On the lush, green grass next to her, she had placed a small plate with pastries and her hands held a delicate cup filled with tea.

Her reddish-brown hair moved in the wind, flying softly. From her lips came a song, softly hummed.

"Are you in a good mood?", another voice asked, gently. Shi Yue approached her from the side, stopping next to her and crossing his arms behind his back, looking out as well.

Ying Hua turned her eyes up at him. Shi Yue was a very good man. He hadn't had it easy in his life, and the way his hair and eye colour had changed during the breakthrough to being a Grandmaster hadn't made it easier. People had looked at him weirdly for a while, but he had pressed on.

She was nearly no use to him as a sword. She was a good weapon, yes, but compared to others, who had their sword spirits aid them during the fights, she couldn't help. He had never disliked her for it and had always treated her gently.

She would never tell him how much time she had spent praying to the gods. That please, they could somehow grant her the ability to help him beyond those occasional sights of the future. That she could do something for this man who did so much for others.

 And then that child Xie Yi had appeared.

"I guess", she whispered, closing her eyes as her thoughts drifted.

The feeling of things being wrong that had accompanied her the past years had vanished instantly when Shi Yue brought him along. A sense of things being fixed.

And by now, she understood.

There were two sides that were needed, and both sides needed help. That child had someone by his side who pushed him forward, away from whatever darkness he had crawled out from. And Shi Yue...

Shi Yue just needed to give him time. She just had to make sure that he would not give up and be patient until that child grew. That was the greatest gift she could ever give him.

"Did you have any other prophecies recently?", he asked carefully, unable to hide the curiosity in his voice. The last time she had told him about how Xie Yi would never tell him a lie. An intriguing prophecy, really. It was no surprise that he was expectant in hearing more.

"No", she said calmly.

Ying Hua sipped on her tea and looked away, her eyes shifting to the side.

She did have other images of the future in her head, she just never told Shi Yue. Why would she?

The black-haired beauty running over to the immortal-like man in his white robe. Shouting his name excitedly, then jumping into his arms and burying his head in the other's neck. The other man gently scolding, "Ah Yi1Putting 'Ah' before their name is an affectionate way to call someone who is close to you, like family or lovers. !", before returning the loving hug after all.

The beauty tilting his head up, pressing a pair of lips boldly against the other man's mouth. Pulling back with a flushed face, laughing sweetly. The man sighing, then smiling softly and bringing a hand up to the back of the black-haired man, tilting him closer to return the kiss.

That kind of scene... No way she was going to tell him. She wouldn't spoil the future. It would be much funnier if he had to figure it out on his own.

"I see", he hummed and didn't ask anymore. He kept on looking at the moving water before him.

Ying Hua did not know the story behind Xie Yi and Mingtian. She knew that Mingtian was not a normal beast. She knew that the two were certainly much closer than just short acquaintances. She knew that Xie Yi was hiding a lot of things, but nothing beyond that.

But she knew that he was true to his heart and was pure in the most unusual way. Right now, his wings were like just recently healed - like they had been torn for too long and he had forgotten how to fly. He was learning. She liked that about him, a lot. He was like Shi Yue in that aspect.

Because of her ability, she had just the slightest connection to the stream that was flowing around them. Sometimes she could grasp one of the strings when she stretched out, but most often, she could not. It was beyond her abilities; beyond her existence, even. But she could feel it.

It was flowing, freely and smoothly, but then it had begun to ripple. Ever since that ripple, she hadn't felt well. It was just a short one, barely noticeable, but it had left her with nothing but discomfort.

But then, someone had taken the stream - had pulled it up, had twirled it around and knotted it up. The stream that was ever-flowing didn't even hitch as it flowed in a loop before continuing on - and then the loop broke off. A second layer, leaving its traces in the stream, but not part of it anymore.

It was like breathing again.

The softest sigh exhaled as the stream was back on its path, reaching her ears with a little tickle. 

That night, she prayed one more time.

Without thinking about it, Ying Hua reached out her hand and dipped a finger into the water next to her leg. Gently trailing over it, drawing a loop, and then dragging it a bit farther.

"I'm looking forward to the future", she hummed, her lips tugging into the slightest smile before she began to hum again. Just a random melody she had heard out in the streets.

"You do know something, don't you?", Shi Yue asked in surprise, looking at her. If she didn't tell, then she was bound to have her reasons, but he was surprised to notice that she kept something a secret from him.

Her watery brown eyes turned up to him, holding his for a second. Then the smile became visible for half a second before hiding again, her mouth opening to sing as she moved her feet to splash in the water.

Grow and grow, little blossom of plum.
Grow and grow, through coldness and snow.

Little branch, don't bend,
little flower, don't break.
Let us greet the spring sun together.

"As the Chinese poem goes, “the fragrance of plum blossom comes from bitterness and coldness”. Souls are tempered through the sufferings, growing in inner strength and unbending spirit."
Hmm, I almost feel sad that I didn't discover this earlier. I would have named Xie Yi to something linked to plum, it would suit him really well.

With this, this time-arc is over~~ We won't meet the one who did what Ying Hua comments on in this story. They'd appear in another story as a side-character, but that's a loooot more world building.

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