“Tsk, tsk, tsk!”
The hostess, whose curled hair made her look like a golden-haired lion, changed the diaper for her baby while smacking her lips. “Look at that. Li Yao, the great hero of Floating Spear City, has shown up again. Even his old classmates are swaggering around!
“As far as I’ve heard, was this guy Zhao Liang at loggerheads with Li Yao at all? He was merely beaten up by Li Yao twice! But after Li Yao became the Ultra-Level Federal Hero, the guy bragged to everybody about the incident, claiming that he was a man who could still stand on his feet after fighting Li Yao twice in a row. He even brought the video of his fight with Li Yao in high school to his fighting club and played it every day. A lot of students were actually fooled by him. What a shameless guy!
“The fellows who graduated from No. 2 Crimson Nimbus High School are telling everybody that they are Li Yao’s alumni everywhere they go. Li Yao clearly went to another school in the end, and I’m told that he left because he was pissed off. What kind of alumni are they?
“Hey, Old Meng!”
The hostess finished changing diaper for her daughter quickly. Patting the little baby’s bottom, she went over to her husband and jabbed his nose with a chopstick.
“Didn’t you graduate from No. 2 Crimson Nimbus High School, too? I remember that you were in the same class as Li Yao. Why do I barely hear you talking about that?
“Was your relationship with Li Yao bad?
“It doesn’t matter. Look at this Zhao Liang. A Mr. Nobody who jumped out of nowhere has earned some fame by bragging about his experience of being beaten by Li Yao all day long!
“Just think about it. Let’s figure out a way to be connected to Li Yao. If we can take advantage of his popularity, won’t our business thrive?
“The simplest of all. You can put a picture of you and Li Yao in front of our shop. If you don’t have a picture where there are just the two of you, you must have a group picture of your class, right? Caption it ‘Makeover from Li Yao’s Alumni’. Make ‘Li Yao’ big. Other people might think that you are Li Yao’s personal beautician. How marvelous that would be!
“Haven’t you been saying that you will make your salon into the best one in the federation and even branch out into the universe beyond the Heaven’s Origin Sector? This is a great opportunity!
“Just think quickly! Was there any interaction between you and Li Yao? It will do even if you two once peed in the toilet together!”
Seeing his wife’s glowing face and her eyes that were about to become coins, Meng Jing grinned and drank a bowl of soy bean milk slowly. He then grabbed the egg pie that had not bored him after more than ten years. Taking a huge bite, he chewed with great satisfaction for a while before leaning back in his chair comfortably. Reminiscing about the past, he shook his head. “I won’t. I am different from Zhao Liang.”
The hostess frowned. “How so? Zhao Liang can take advantage of Li Yao. Why can’t you when you are Li Yao’s classmate, too?”
Meng Jiang smiled and said, “Zhao Liang is willing to sell some things, but not me. Not in the world!”
The hostess was angry. Her eyebrow furrowed, and she was about to say more when the wind chimes hanging on the door clattered. Somebody walked in.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we aren’t open yet. Would you please come back later?” a beautician told the stranger politely.
“It’s alright. I don’t want a haircut. I’m here to see your boss.”
A slightly dull voice came from the thick mask. Meng Jiang was slightly surprised because he found the voice quite familiar.
He turned around, only to discover that the newcomer was wearing a peaked cap and pressed it low. The guy was also wearing a pair of big, broad sunglasses. Along with his mask, his entire face was covered without the slightest gap.
The hostess pouted at Meng Jiang. “Old Meng, he is looking for you. Who’s this guy? Covering up his face and acting mysteriously like this? You haven’t done anything bad outside, have you?”
Meng Jiang immediately blushed. “What are you talking about?”
He stood up, holding the remaining half of the egg pie, and eyed the newcomer suspiciously. “You are…?”
“Ha. Smells good. I haven’t smelt the flavor of such delicious egg pie for more than ten years.”
The newcomer took off his sunglasses and mask with a grin, revealing a face that the couple occasionally saw on TV. His clear eyes, however, still had a hint of his youth from more than ten years ago.
“Ah!” the hostess exclaimed and accidentally dropped the chopstick to the ground. She forgot to pick it up and simply covered her mouth tightly.
Meng Jiang’s eyes bulged wider and wider, and he grinned so hard that his lips almost reached his earlobes. “Li Yao!”
“That’s right, my friend!” Li Yao smiled. “I’m getting married. I’m here to give you the invitation. I’m really sorry that I was still in the Flying Star Sector when you were married, but you must come to my wedding!”
“Of course, I will. I certainly will!” Tears in his eyes, Meng Jiang said, “I will be going even if it is raining knives that day”
The two best friends in high school burst into laughter and hugged each other despite the astonishment of the hostess and the workers in the salon!
At midnight, in the underground ghost market of Floating Spear City, Meng Jiang, who had toured their old hangouts with Li Yao for an entire day and drunk too much wine in the barbeque booth, was sound asleep on the greasy table.
Li Yao, on the other hand, sat aside and sent a message to Ding Lingdang.
“All the invitations of Floating Spear City, my last stop, have been sent. I have truly met a lot of old friends on this trip and remembered many things from the past!
“It is needless to mention my senior brother, Peng Hai. The Double Dragons Union is now rising quickly under his leadership and will be marching into the desolate space zones of the Flying Star Sector soon as the first sect to begin the new adventure. I’m sure that the gains will not be small!
“The moment he saw me, the bald Jiang Shaoyang lunged at me, crying, claiming that he would butcher me because I cracked the Venomous Scorpion Bone Biting Shackle, which he had produced over years of hard work, in only several minutes through crooked methods!
“Haha. The bad guy has defeated his uncle, ‘Supernova’ Jiang Sheng, fair and square in a competition of refining. He will likely be the youngest dean in the history of the Refining Department of Deep Sea University. Now that the brand of the ‘holy land of refiners’ is in his hands, it is not going to be easy to take it away!
“Do you still remember Mister Ding Yin, who guided me to become a Cultivator on the train to the Grand Desolate Plateau? He’s doing fine, too. He is now the deputy president of the Association of Spectral Cultivators. His arts of refining are even more profound than the old days. In terms of the magical equipment that involves the soul, his skills are certainly better than mine, and he has offered me a lot of enlightenment.
“Right, there’s also Wei Qingqing, the girl who was determined to be a rural teacher. It’s a shame that she perished on the train, too!
“But she luckily turned into a spectral Cultivator as Mister Ding Yin did. Right now, she is teaching the children who unfortunately passed away and turned into ghosts in a special school designed for such children. Other than her main job, she is also a popular novelist and has written quite a few fictions.
“My other friends are fine, too. Everybody is working hard and making their contributions in their respective field!
“Hehe. Although I’ve only just met them, I can’t wait to see them again at our wedding!”
In December, the coldest month of the year, the Grand Desolate Plateau was frigidly enshrouded in ice and snow.
However, on the remains of the city, in the middle of the dilapidated buildings that had been frozen into ice, red flags were flapping like thousands of roaring dragons. Countless tents had neatly been established on the ground. The noises that were soaring up to the sky shattered the frozen air!
This place used to be Wild Wave City, where the Grand Desolate War Institution was located, but it had been destroyed in the beast tide.
Now, hundreds of thousands of workers, soldiers, and Cultivators had gathered in the place. They would melt the snow, build walls, and reshape the Grand Desolate Plateau with their hands, sweat, and blood!
On the horizon, many super heavy tanks, which carried large engineering magical equipment, were driving toward them. The fulminations from the vehicles sounded like the drumming of giants and the horns of another war!
At the center of the innumerous tents, guarded and blessed by all the workers, soldiers, and Cultivators, a special wedding was about to begin.
Hiu! Hiu! Hiu!
Shuttles and carriers were arriving through the clouds.
“Li Yao!” Fiend Blade Peng Hai, his tall and handsome senior brother, leapt out of the shuttle.
“Li Yao!” ‘Solar Eclipse’ Jiang Shaoyang, who had kept his iconic bald head and always seemed angry, flew out.
“Li Yao, congratulations!” Mister Ding Yin and Wei Qingqing both arrived. Wei Qingqing was still hiding inside a small mechanical blue bird, which stopped above Mister Ding Yin’s head and uttered crisp, oriole-like sounds.
“Li Yao, we are here, too!” Lei Dalu, captain of the Great Horn Exo Society, and Bai Kaixin, his advisor, as well Xiong Wuji, the chief of the Furious Bears Tribe on Iron Plateau, and all the good friends who had once fought side by side with Li Yao had come to the wedding from the Flying Star Sector.
Li Yao and Ding Lingdang were sitting in the middle of a pile of debris. Li Yao was wearing a slim, black suit while Ding Lingdang was in a long, fiery dress. The two of them were holding a heavy shovel that was tied with a giant red flower.
“The wedding begins now!” Wu Mayan and Xie Anan shouted at the same time, dragging their voice, with obvious delight and amusement in their tone.
Li Yao and Ding Lingdang raised the shovel high together.
On behalf of the workers on the Grand Desolate Plateau, they would be making the first step of the reconstruction of the Grand Desolate Plateau.
In such a way, they were telling the world that, no matter what happened and no matter what kind of difficulties and challenges they were faced with, they would build and defend their home side by side.
In that moment, all the workers, soldiers, Cultivators, and their family and friends held their breath and looked at them quietly.
On the horizon behind them, the sun was slowly setting, and the long, cold night was falling.
But did it really matter?
However cold and long the dark night was, it could never stop the stars from glittering!