Chapter 11 – Equal Life Contract (I)
Ye Zhong gazed deeply at his son and sternly said, “You lost your stuff, so you need to depend on your own power to retrieve it. I can only tell you that the person who stole your ring is also in Milan. Son, you need to remember: if you want to become strong, you must learn to observe and perceive everything in your surroundings.”
“He’s also in Milan?” Yin Zhu stared at his dad. Deciding to think about this later, he resolved, “Dad, I’ll rely on my own power to retrieve my ring.”
Ye Zhong said to Zi, “Zi, I want to say a few words to Yin Zhu. Alone.”
Zi didn’t pay attention to Ye Zhong. He merely looked at Yin Zhu with a reluctance to part even for a moment before he turned around and walked into the forest.
“Yin Zhu. I have seen everything you have encountered on this journey. Whether it is you killing those mages in Luna City or losing the ring your Grandfather Qin gave you, I have not stepped in. Do you know why?”
Ye Yin Zhu, somewhat at a loss, shook his head.
Ye Zhong spoke heavily, “Because I want you to be able to grow from your experiences and not from under my protection. Maybe I could have helped you when you lost your space ring, but what happens if next time I am not by your side? You’re 16 years old this year; according to the conventions of the mainland, you’re already an adult. From now on you must learn to be strong and to face every challenge. Therefore, I haven’t interfered this whole time. Perhaps you have not followed your Grandfather Qin’s entire plan, but I think this is a good thing. You’re walking down your own path. You have to keep in mind what your two grandfathers have taught you.”
When his dad looked at him with such severity, Ye Yin Zhu unexpectedly discovered the hesitation and indecisiveness he felt after leaving Desolate Jade Sea disappear. These two feelings stopped festering within his heart.
“Father, I will.”
Changing from dad to father, there was only a small difference, but Ye Zhong distinctly felt that his son had truly grown up.
“Yin Zhu, I don’t object to you killing. Still, I must tell you that you don’t necessarily have to kill your enemies. Some criminals aren’t deadly, and other methods could be used to deal with them. At the same time, murder also has a heavy cost. Although you didn’t bear the price when you killed the people in the Arcadian Magic Guild last time, the entire Arcadian Magic Guild, and even the whole kingdom, did. Fortunately, we wish to see situations like this. Although Zi doesn’t have any malicious intentions towards you, in some ways he is prejudiced. He is not always right; you must also use your own judgement. That time when you were apart, I followed him. Later, because I was worried you would be dead or your zither would have an accident, I nearly returned to your side. Zi possesses a very mysterious background. He and the beastmen of the Northern Wasteland have some kind of special relationship.”
Listening to his father, Yin Zhu couldn’t help but wrinkle his brow. He resolved, “Father, Zi absolutely won’t harm me. We’re brothers. Also, what price did Arcadia bear in my place?”
Ye Zong slightly smiled and said, “You do not need to know about the Arcadia matter; your two grandfathers have handled it. I’m merely reminding you that it’s not for you to make such judgements. I have also just heard the proposal Zi raised. Although I don’t know what the true connotations of the Equal Life Contract are, I am certain that once the two of you complete the contract, it is impossible for you to possess a magical beast. This contract is singular. As a mage, your magical beast is extremely important. Your Grandfather Qin cultivated zither magic in his adolescence, causing his strength to be too weak. He signed a contract with a Rudimentary magical beast and was unable to possess a stronger magical beast afterward.”
“Grandfather Qin has a magical beast? Why didn’t I know?”
Ye Zhong sighed and said, “In order to protect your Grandfather Qin, his magical beast fought and died early on. In order to remember it, and also because of the former contract’s influence, your Grandfather Qin has not possessed another magical beast since. How you deal with your relationship with Zi, you’ll decide on your own. I need to leave. I left Desolate Jade Sea in order to escort you to Milan, but I also must go to the Ascoli Kingdom to do something. You need to stay in the institution; you don’t have to return home once the term ends. We’ll contact you. When you mature, our Bamboo Sect and Zither Sect should be somewhat active.”
Ye Zhong embraced his son once he finished speaking. Not allowing Ye Yin Zhu to say anything, his body soared up. Bounding like a shooting star, Ye Zhong disappeared from sight.
“Strong, I must be strong.” Resisting the feeling of loss upon his father’s departure, Yin Zhu’s clear eyes held something else within them. From his previous problems, Ye Zhong had given him extremely important lessons. Ye Yin Zhu had already gradually separated himself from Desolate Jade Sea where except for his cultivation, he did not have to be in charge of his life. He realized now, however, that he could only rely on himself.
Looking at the tall figure that had returned to his side, Ye Yin Zhu faintly smiled, nodded, and said, “Let’s start.”
Zi stared blankly. “Start? Start what?”
Yin Zhu exclaimed, “The Equal Life Contract of course!”
Deeply examining Yin Zhu’s handsome face, Zi said with a low voice, “You have decided? I thought when you and your father talked, he told you the disadvantages of the contract and how it influences your future. I want you to think clearly and not regret this afterward.”
“There is nothing to consider. I have already thought this quite thoroughly. In fact, right after my father and I finished discussing how a completed contract’s influence will prevent me from summoning a magical beast, I merely asked myself a question. I asked myself, ‘Would I rather have a strong magical beast or always have you by my side? Which was more important?’ I don’t need to explain my answer.” Ye Yin Zhu, from beginning to end, rejected the magical beast summon because he didn’t want to refuse the Equal Life Contract. His thinking was very simple as he grasped the most important point during his reflection. Signing the contract not only restricted him, it also restricted Zi. Zi wasn’t worried, so why should he be worried? Why was it necessary to have a magical beast to become strong? His father firmly said it himself: ‘To become strong, you can only rely on yourself.’
Zi observed the warm smile on Yin Zhu’s face and his bright eyes suddenly exuded heartfelt emotions. “Good brother. I will never forget your trust in me.”
“We are brothers.” Ye Yin Zhu simply repeated those three words. Yes! Since they were brothers, was there any need to say anything more?
The Zither Emperor and Violet Emperor looked at each other. From this moment on, throughout their entire lives, the brotherly feelings between these two had never changed, instead becoming more resolute with the passing of time.
“Zi, begin.” Yin Zhu looked at the very excited Zi, his mood equally eager. If they complete this contract, he could see Zi at any time even if he was in the institution.
“Okay, repeat after me.” Zi never liked hesitating. “Within the eternal permanence of the galaxy, let the sun and moon be witness. I, Zi.”
“Within the eternal permanence of the galaxy, let the sun and moon be witness. I, Ye Yin Zhu.”
Zi bit down hard on his right forefinger, breaking the skin. His blood was actually a light violet, which was extremely strange.
Ye Yin Zhu copied his movements. The two men touched their bleeding fingers together in the air. Suddenly, the scarlet and light violet colored blood blended together in an instant. An intense magical wave exploded out in a flash, it was like a storm had engulfed the two men’s bodies and carried them away. In mid air, a faint river of stars emitted rays of light which descended from the heavens, isolating the two from everything around them.