The Road to Collecting the Soul
One day in Heaven, one year on Earth.
When he entered Chang'an City again, it seemed that not much had changed, yet everything seemed to have changed.
With the constant flow of people and horses in the streets, it was like a lifetime ago.
The blazing sun overhead made Yan Yuan's eyes swell with pain, and the thousands of scenes in front of him were so blurred that he could no longer see...
He had no memory and was under the compulsion of the Heavenly Way.
He had never shown any interest in Xuan Long in his life, never took him to the streets to see the prosperity of the world, rather he often took Ning Zhiyu out to the palace to play, giving tenderness and consideration to Ning Zhiyu and asking Xuan Long to bear all the irritability and impatience.
The dragon did not complain even when he was aggrieved.
Thinking about his previous life, Yan Yuan knew better than anyone else how patient Xuan Long was.
He was able to say 'I'm tired… and don't want to go on' before he went up in ashes, which really meant he was disheartened and left with determination and resolve, with no room for manoeuvre.
Mother said that Xuan Long was easy to coax, but Yan Yuan was worried that he would never be able to coax the dragon back.
It was he who had killed him with his own hands, wiped out his hopes little by little and drove him to his death...
Would he still be willing to go home with him
Yan Yuan did not know.
Even if he didn't know, he had to do it, do it with all his strength.
Even if he lost his life along the way, he had to get his A'Po back.
The place where Xuan Long died was the dark prison cell in the palace, where he had to go in order to cast a soul summoning spell.
Yan Yuan went back to the palace, searched for Xuan Long's aura and found his belongings.
A brown lacquered wooden box containing a dozen wooden figures carved by Xuan Long, an iris jade pendant, a worn red brocade bag with obvious signs of mending, and a silver hairpin with a cloud pattern.
Before he died, Yan Yuan had packed everything related to Xuan Long in the box and placed it in a hidden cabinet in the side hall of Qiankun Palace.
After Yan Huo Heng ascended to the throne as emperor, he lived in the main hall, and although the side halls had been cleaned out, the contents of this concealed cabinet had not been discovered.
Yan Yuan took the chest with him to the Heavenly Prison.
He concealed himself so that he could not be seen by the naked eye.
The firelight coming through the tunnel barely illuminated the scene in the cell, and Yan Yuan suddenly saw a scarred man curled up on a straw bale, sleeping as if he was very cold, his body had almost turned into a boiled shrimp, but he couldn't shrink himself any tighter because of the large bulge in his abdomen.
Yan Yuan's heart suddenly ached, and he walked over in a daze to take the man into his arms, but before he could take a few steps, everything before him disappeared.
The ground was clean, except for the dusty dirt, not even half a blade of straw, and there was no one there.
There was no one there.
Yan Yuan shook his hand and summoned the soul gathering box, knowing that he had lost his mind and was hallucinating.
What he should do now was to cast a soul summoning spell to collect the ashes of Xuan Long's unconscious soul, and then go and find the ashes of his soul that contained his emotions such as anger, sadness and joy.
When he was in Heaven, Xuan Long loved reading military books, the fairy flowers and birds that Yan Yuan gave him, his divine martial sword, and if there was one thing he loved the most, it was the jade pendant with an iris that Yan Yuan had carved for him.
The jade pendant was cut from the Three Life Stone outside the Hall of Gods.
The stone was pure white, a huge egg-shaped jade.
He not only changed it, but also chiselled the Three Lives Stone and carved it into a jade pendant for his lover.
The jade pendant has a warming effect in winter and a cooling effect in summer, and because Yan Yuan had taken great care to make it, Xuan Long was so fond of it that he wore it even to the battlefield
On the day he died, his bloodstained hand fished out the iris tail pendant from his pocket and returned it to Yan Yuan, saying that when he returned, Yan Yuan would give it to him personally and that he would keep it for him for the time being.
There is no doubt that in his last life he treasured that jade pendant the most.
However, in this life, Xuan Long did not have the memories of his previous life, so the object to be put into the soul gathering box had to be Xuan Long's favourite item in this life.
In his life, Yan Yuan had never given Xuan Long anything nice, even the jade pendant was given to him at random from the treasury, and he lied to him claiming that it was a 'token of love', which made the dragon so happy that he plucked all his scales for him.
If those later events had not happened, he was certain that the iris jade pendant he had given him in the mortal world would have been Xuan Long's most treasured possession in this life, but what happened was what happened, and after Xuan Long found out the truth about his deception, he wanted to return the jade pendant to him, refusing to keep it any longer, and it was only when he shamelessly forced it on him that he reluctantly took it.
On the contrary, the red brocade bag that Hu Le gave to Xuan Long seemed to be very precious to him, and he even picked it up and sewed it back together again after it was trampled on...
Thinking of this made Yan Yuan feel sour; he was the one who pushed his lover further and further away, and now he didn't even have the qualifications to be jealous.
He conjured up the wooden box, took out the sewn red pouch from the box, opened the lid of the soul gathering box and put the pouch inside.
It was not too big, not too small, just big enough to fit.
Closing the lid of the soul gathering box, Yan Yuan closed his eyes.
As his lips moved slightly and he silently recited the summoning incantation, the box slowly rose from his palm into mid-air, the black jewel in the centre emitting an ethereal blue light that drew the soul back.
Yan Yuan's heart was pounding and he knew that the pouch was working.
He recited the incantation faster and faster, but halfway through the recitation, the blue light suddenly went out and the box fell to the ground with a snap.
The pouch rolled out of the box, gathering dust.
Yan Yuan froze on the spot and instantly felt like he had fallen into an ice cave, his blood chilled to the bone.
Why was this happening…
Could there be a problem with the soul gathering box...
no, the soul box given to him by his mother would not be faulty...
Then it must be for another reason...
He bent down and picked up the soul box and the pouch, hesitated for a moment, then put the pouch away and put the gold-encrusted iris jade pendant inside.
It is not that he was confident in himself and felt that Xuan Long would still consider what he had given him important even today, but at the moment there were only a few relics left behind by Xuan Long, so he could only try it with a prayer in his heart.
Closing the lid again, Yan Yuan used the same divine power as before and recited the spirit invocation incantation silently.
The soul gathering box rose into mid-air and emitted an even stronger blue light, illuminating the entire cell as bright as day.
After half a column of incense, the blue light gradually faded, Yan Yuan opened his eyes and caught the box in his palm, only to see the blue light completely extinguished, replaced by a flash of green light.
Every time the soul ash was collected, a green aura would flash on the soul gathering box to alert the spell caster of its success or lack thereof.
When all of the soul is collected, the jewel will emit a long lasting green light.
Although it was only the beginning, Yan Yuan was still excited.
He had no idea that Xuan Long's favourite object was really the jade pendant he had given him.
Whether in his previous life or in this one, it was the same, it had never changed.
But he had failed him for two whole lives, in the first life, he had failed to protect him, and in the second life, he had cut off his life with his own hands, making him unable to even enter reincarnation.
"Wait for me...
I will come to find you soon and take you home."
Tears smashed on the soul gathering box, Yan Yuan hurriedly wiped it away with his sleeve and hugged it into his arms like a treasure.
After collecting Xuan Long's unconscious soul ash, the soul gathering box will be able to help him find the conscious and happy ones, but the exact place will only be hinted at by the soul gathering box after he goes there.
Yan Yuan was unsure where Xuan Long's favourite place was in this life; he knew very little about the Xuan Long of this life, only that he had been abandoned by his clan and that even his mother did not like him.
He also knew that he had been expelled from the Dragon Clan by his mother when he was very young, and that the Dragon Realm must not have held many warm memories for him.
The Imperial Palace was even worse, Xuan Long would not have liked it because he had never had a good day there, did not have enough to eat, did not have warm clothes, and was bullied by him when he was pregnant with his child.
Yan Yuan did not expect to find the rest of Xuan Long's soul in this palace, but since he had come here, he would not feel at ease if he did not take a walk and look around.
He took the soul gathering box and walked around the palace, floating mid-air in the clouds, which didn't take much time.
If the consciousness of Xuan Long's soul passed by, his box would be able to sense it within a hundred metres.
However, after walking almost everywhere, the box did not respond.
He really hated this place so much that he did not even want the consciousness of his soul to come here after his death.
Yan Yuan gave up and was ready to take the box away to look elsewhere when the black jewel at the top of the box suddenly turned blue and emitted a beam of light.
The cloud beneath Yan Yuan's feet stopped and he looked down at the palace below, which was Weiyang Palace, located not far from Qiankun Palace.
When he went to Qiankun Palace, the soul gathering box was clearly not responding.
Since the jewel was lit up, there was no mistake.
Yan Yuan circled around and found that the closer he got to Qiankun Palace, the stronger the blue light became.
It suddenly occurred to him that the soul consciousness would wander around and was not fixed, and since he was not there just now, perhaps Xuan Long had now gone to Qiankun Palace
Thinking this way, Yan Yuan's heart trembled as he landed in front of Qiankun Palace on his cloud, where the unstable blue light on the soul gathering box that had been flickering just now was fixed.
He was here.
Xuan Long had come.
Yan Yuan stood at the door, his eyes flushed with excitement, and he raised his hand to push the door open, but then stopped.
He was separated from Xuan Long by yin and yang, and if he went in like this, he would not be able to see the dragon.
He withdrew his hand, raised his hand and executed a sleeping technique on himself.
A white light entered Yan Yuan's brow, and while he stood there, his soul stepped out of his body.
The scene around him changed from day to night, with a curved moon hanging over the branches and an occasional crisp bird song.
It was late summer and the night was slightly cool.
This was no longer reality, but within the consciousness of Xuan Long's soul.
Yan Yuan raised his hand again to cover the doorway, and after a few moments of calmness, he gently pushed it open.
There was a welcome presence in the empty hall and the inner room was lit by a dim candle flame, which could be seen from the outer hall.
He slowly walked into the inner hall, not even daring to breathe too hard for fear of disturbing the person inside.
It took him a long time to reach the place that could be reached in a few seconds.
Yan Yuan stopped at the entrance of the inner room, and through his blurred vision, he saw a half-burned candle on the golden purple heather round table, and the candle flame reflected the lowered eyebrows of the man in black clothes, who was sitting at the table, holding a carving knife and wood in his hands, carving a wooden figure.