Shi Yan exited the cave, he looked around from Shi Yin and the little tiger. Although he could not see them, he could tell that they were playing from the ground. There were obvious paw marks on the ground, scattered around. Shi Yan followed their footsteps but did not bother calling out. He knew that Shi Yin would not be able to hear him, likewise, the little tiger would not recognize him.
After awhile, he found the little tiger lying on the ground breathless, while Shi Yin was putting lilies around her. Shi Yan couldn’t help but laugh. (lilies are a sign of peaceful/innocent rebirth.)
When Shi Yin saw Shi Yan, she immediately jumped into his arms. Breathing in his scent, which she missed. The white tiger was still on the floor, still pretending to be dead. Shi Yin gave a cute “Eyah!” And the white tiger sprang up from her dead state.
Shi Yin, while still in Shi Yan’s arms, started to talk to the little tiger. “eyah, eyaaa…yah. Yah!” The white tiger just nods, silently listening to Shi Yin attentively. Shi Yan was yet again impressed by Shi Yin. She managed to control both Selene and the little white tiger!
The white tiger cried out “rraaawr”. Seeming to accept the message. Shi Yan did not understand the conversation between the two but Shi Yin was digging her head into Shi Yan’s chest.
Little did Shi Yan know, the little tiger is currently addressing Shi Yin as big sister.
The little tiger did not have any friends. This was especially due to her father’s demand that no one was to enter the mountain valley. She could go outside to play, but without many living things around, it was boring. Food doesn’t need to be hunted, it was normally already prepared by her father, Byakko. Thus, in her 6 years of life, she lived only in boredom.
When Shi Yin and Shi Yan came, she was excited beyond belief. However, she showed restraint. She was afraid her overly strict father would not allow her to play. Only after her father couldn’t see her would she start to play.
During the game with Shi Yin, the little tiger tried her best to catch Shi Yin but it was no use. Shi Yin was way too fast. After a while, she proposed a new game. However, Shi Yin was not willing to play it. The little tiger cried a little to show displeasure but Shi Yin ignored her. Her usual tears would make Byakko turn soft but it did not faze Shi yin at all.
Shi Yin saw that the little tiger was desperate to play. Thus, she came up with a plan to distance the little tiger from Shi Yan. Shi Yin told the little tiger that she would only play if the little tiger would listen to her. Naturally, little tiger nodded in agreement. Thus, they started to play more games like tree climbing.
In the end, Shi Yin managed to beat the little tiger again and again. Shi Yin’s skills managed to impress the little tiger, making her respect Shi Yin more and more. Eventually, she started calling Shi Yin big sister.
After a few more games, the little tiger was exhausted. She laid on the ground, breathless. Shi Yin saw the exhausted little cub and decided to play funeral. Just when she was about to put the lilies as offerings, Shi Yan came.
The little cub thought Shi Yin just left to collect more flower. However, hearing her cries alerted the little tiger.
The little tiger looked at Shi Yan while Shi Yin instructed her. Shi Yin told the little cub that she has claimed this human as hers. That the little tiger should stay away from him, no physical contact. If not, Shi Yin would no longer play with her.
The little tiger agreed, she didn’t want to be unable to play with Shi Yin.
Shi Yan caressed Shi Yin, he looked at the little tiger and was wondering how to address her. He decided to put it off since he could not understand her. Instead, he planned to get Selene to be his translator.
Shi Yan turned around and started to walk. He looked back to check on the little tiger from time to time, ensuring that she was following him. Naturally, the little tiger obediently followed Shi Yan, in this case, Shi Yin.
It would take them about a day to reach back to Selene. During the day, they would walk. Once it reached the late afternoon, Shi Yan would make a small bedding out of Bamboos and vines. While both Shi Yin and the little tiger went out to forage for food. The little tiger had little experience searching for food. Hence, she was mostly playing around disturbing Shi Yin. Shi Yin did get annoyed but, did not lash out. She didn’t want the little tiger to be scared of her and run back to Shi Yan.
The preparation for night was done and the two girls enjoyed their comfortable beds. The little tiger fell asleep first. Shi Yin made sure she was between the little tiger and Shi Yan, before falling asleep. Shi Yan on the other hand did not have such a peaceful night. The current situation was very chaotic. There were too many unknown problems in which he has not solved.
[There seems to be so much happening now… I wonder if I can keep all of them safe… I don’t have the strength nor the skills. This whole time, I depended so much on Shi Yin. I thought I could protect her. But in the end, she was the one who protected me. I want to get stronger. At least enough for those around me to live a safe life.
Byakko said that my life would be full of trial… Is it safe for me to bring along Shi Yin? Shi Yan gave a cold smile. Even if I leave her, she would follow me. She’s willing to follow me anywhere. For her and I, our lives are already considered as one… We would be willing to die for the other. Die with the other. I never knew her background story. Seeing by how Byakko respected her, she must have a high position in this world of immortals. “*sigh*” If that was the case, why would she be in the Nan Dynasty on that fateful day, injured?
Ever since we ran out of the orphanage, our lives have turned upside down. Or should I say my life? Ever since I stepped into the world of immortals, I feel like I am closer to knowing the real you.
Everyday seems like an exciting adventure. Our lives always on the line. I also have to keep alert, thinking and scheming. However, the questions of this world are too vast, too deep. Even if I were to solve a problem, another one seems to crop up. *sigh* I don’t feel safe, knowing that I don’t know. I want to go back, learn more about this world, make the uncertainties certain…
But first, we need to pass this test. It requires strength, endurance and courage. Yet, strength could mean anything. Strength of thought, strength of will, or brute strength. Likewise, how can I prove that I have endurance? How long I can run? How long I won’t got insane? These are more vague topics than the previous test.
No point thinking anymore, it’s already midnight. We need to travel faster tomorrow. Although we are already quite a distance away from the cave, I cannot be certain if we would run into the ape along the way. This time, with Byakko’s daughter with us, I highly doubt that the ape will let us survive like last time.]
“Raawr!” The little tiger roared, awakening Shi Yan. He slowly opened his eyes to see the little tiger talking to Shi Yin.
The little tiger was complaining of hunger. This was the longest time she’s been without food. She doesn’t eat fruits and vegetables, which Shi Yin brought to her. Only beast cores and meat. The little tiger shook its head whenever Shi Yin forced her to eat fruits. The little tiger cried out of injustice and ill treatment. Begging her elder sister to give her some normal food to eat. Shi Yin obviously could not easily obtain meat or beast cores, thus forced the tiger to eat the fruits.
Watching Shi Yin holding the fruit in front of the little tiger, Shi Yan understood the situation. However, he cannot do anything to help the little tiger as she continued to complain. He tried to think of a solution, but all he could come up with was to disguise mashed plants as meat. Using his blood as colouring, to make it more appetising. Of course, he rejected the idea since he doesn’t know if the little tiger would develop a liking to his blood!
In the end, the little tiger disgruntledly watched Shi Yan eat while on an empty stomach. When Shi Yan tried to console her by caressing, she immediately backed away. Jumping back about 2 metres.
[… Does she hate me that much? ]
Shi Yan shook his head and sighed. Shi Yin was of course smiling. Watching her little sister be so obedient, how could an elder sister not be happy!
Shi Yan looked back to the direction of Byakko’s cave. [We are not far away from the exit of the valley. It’ll probably take another 2 hours of walking to exit. Another hour or so to reach Selene. But damn! why didn’t you leave some food for your daughter? You should be aware that your princess is a picky eater… “*sigh*” whatever… priorities first. We need to head out of the valley. Else, we can’t feed that little princess.]
Shi Yan continued to move, with the two little beast behind him, they walked to the exit. However, after two hours, the little tiger stopped walking. She shook her head refusing to leave the area. She was not permitted to leave the mountain valley. She was afraid of the punishment her father would deliver once she exited the mountain valley.
Shi Yin was the first to notice the little tiger’s refusal to proceed. Shi Yin tugged Shi Yan’s cloak alerting him. Shi Yan turned around, to find the little tiger sitting 20 metres away, shaking her head. Shi Yan wanted to approach her but recalled her earlier reaction; he decided to wait for Shi Yin to deal with the little tiger before doing anything.
The little tiger noticed Shi Yin stopped moving and called out to her “raawr..rar”. Shi Yin understood the situation but was unable to tell Shi Yan. She knew that it was up to her to deal with the little tiger.
Shi Yin first tried to persuade the little tiger, telling her that Byakko would not punish her. However, the little tiger did not believe. She dared not take the risk.
Next, Shi Yan tried to push the little tiger but her small stature made it impossible to move the little tiger.
Next, Shi Yin threatened to never play with the little tiger. This made the little tiger frightened. She wants to continue to play with Shi Yin but still doesn’t want to get punished by her father. Thus, the little tiger threw a tantrum. She began to run back into the forest, trying to make Shi Yan and Shi Yin follow her back in.
This could have worked if her opponent wasn’t Shi Yin. Shi Yin could easily tell the little tiger’s plan. When Shi Yan tried to chase after the little tiger, Shi Yin, held onto his cloak, not allowing him to move. He turned back to find Shi Yin shaking her head. Shi Yan did not know what Shi Yin was planning but he undoubtedly trust her. Waiting for the little tiger, both Shi Yan and Shi Yin were at the same spot. That was until they heard a rustling in the bushes.
Shi Yin could obviously smell the little tiger hiding there. However, both of them did not approach the other. Shi Yin let out a cheeky smirk, and pulled on Shi Yan’s cloak, hinting him to continue walking. Shi Yan fulfilled her wish but, he could not help but look back. To check if the little tiger was following them.
After 10 minutes or so, they were already out of the valley. In the end, the little tiger exited with them. However, she did not approach Shi Yin or Shi Yan. She was afraid that they would hate her for throwing a tantrum, believing that they left her behind, leaving the mountain valley.
Shi Yan and Shi Yin continued to walk. When Shi Yin felt a little tired, she would climb up to Shi Yan’s arms to rest. Occasionally using him as a obstruction, providing a hiding spot. Poking her head out from time to time, she was checking on the little tiger behind them. The little tiger’s hiding skills were horrendous. She was extremely easy to spot, especially with that white fur coat of hers’. She was fully exposed in the lush greenery but was not aware of it. As she expected, the little tiger never left them for more than a hundred metres. From the mountain valley till now, the little tiger has always been close by.
Shi Yin was worried for the little tiger only because of her father. Although she could get away from his anger through her background, she couldn’t say the same for Shi Yan. Her beloved was only an orphan without any influences. She knew that Byakko would unleash his anger on Shi Yan if anything were to happen to the little tiger.
Shi Yan continued to walk. He did not bother to check up on the little tiger since Shi Yin was faithfully doing so. He knew that if anything were to happen, Shi Yin would alert him immediately.