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Chapter 530: Qianlin’s Recordings

    Chapter 530: Qianlin's Recordings

    Lan Jue's chest tightened. It was harder to breathe. This must be when she first found out her sister had died.

    "Sister... I'll find your murderer. I will..." That was all he could make out. They went to the second recording.

    "Sister. This is the one year anniversary of your murder. I found that man, part of Skyfire Avenue but... I don't have the courage to approach him. I hate him. He's the reason you're dead. I hate him! I can't do what you ask."

    Entry three.

    "Sis. I watched him from far away today. I used a pair of binoculars. It was hard to watch. He was like a corpse, shambling around in a daze. Like he had a broken heart. Master hasn't approached me about replacing you in the mission."

    Entry four.

    "You have to help me, sis. I can't find a single clue anywhere. We've looked in to everyone he knows and they're all clean.  Why weren't you clearer? Who was it that called you to that place? Tell me something... ah, sister. I miss you."

    Entry five.

    "I've made up my mind, I'll give him a shot. I've gone over the plan with Pearl. My identity as the Chairman's daughter has already been established. Now I've got to get close to him, but I won't take your place. I am me. But we'll see if he likes me because I look like you. If he does it means your love was fake. If that's true I'll... I'll... "

    Entry six.

    "Why. Why does it have to be like this? I took that medicine because I was afraid I'd give it away. Why didn't he just take me to a hospital? Sis he... he kept calling your name. We... ah... what should I do?!"

    Entry ten.

    "This bastard. The bastard! I swear I hate him so much..."

    Entry fifteen.

    "He's been better to me. I'm happy, but sis, I feel like I should apologize. Now I get it, why you were drawn in. He really loves you, I...."

    Entry thirty one.

    "He's started to make some moves toward me. It looks like he's finally pulling himself out of his haze. I'm so happy for him, and yet not. Sister, what should I do? I've refused his advances and I know it hurt him. But how can I? I got close to him with a goal, and everything he knows about me is a lie. I've been deceiving him for months, how could I let that continue? I've never been the Chairman's daughter. I used his history with you to manipulate him, even the wedding was staged for his benefit. I engineered the whole thing. I can't accept his affections like this! I... I have to tell him the truth. I can't stand it, I have to tell him. But I'm scared. When he finds out everything, will he still like me? Sis, now I know why you called out to him before you died. Loving someone like this is painful. Tell me what I should do. Do I tell him?"

    Entry thirty three.

    "I've decided that, no matter what, I can't hide anything from him anymore. I'll tell him everything. He may not forgive me, but he needs to see the real me at least once. Only then can I let myself love him."

    That was the last entry. Lan Jue looked between the computer and the unconscious body of Qianlin. He swayed back and forth like he was going to fall over.

    The Clairvoyant had spoken true. Both Qianlin and Hera had loved him without any ulterior motive. It was amazing to discover all that had been going on under his nose. He was sad and embarrassed by how much more Qianlin had suffered.

    I don't mind, Qianlin. Lan Jue fixed his sad eyes upon her. I don't mind. You were never Hera's replacement. I love Hera, but I also love you - Qianlin.

    He felt it all over again, the feeling of his heart breaking. The Clairvoyant shut off the computer, closed the box, than handed it to Lan Jue like a cherished artifact. He took it with trembling hands and pressed the box against his aching chest. His arms squeezed tight, like the box contained all of his past and present love.

    The Clairvoyant took Qianlin's hand, and led her to Lan Jue. She moved like a doll, with a vacant expression. "I impart her to you once again. You must understand that right now, Qianlin is a blank slate - her truest self. If you need to hate someone than hate me. It was my involvement that has led to these two tragedies. I must beg you, in my capacity as the closest thing she had to a father... cherish her, protect her."

    He looked older the longer they spoke, and tears rolled down the wrinkles appearing on his face. It was strange to see the powerful Eye of Tomorrow reduced to the role of concerned father.

    He took her delicate hand. It was cold, and while its contours were all familiar, something about it was off. He gently guided her into his arms where he stroked her long, dark hair.

    "I won't let you leave my side again." He lowered his head and placed a gentle kiss against her lips. Her body shook then, and like she had a thousand times before, she became a pearl of light and vanished.

    The Clairvoyant placed a hand on his shoulder. "Let's head back."

    "Yeah." Lan Jue nodded.

    There were two flashes of light, and suddenly both of them were back in the museum's star room. Both Lan Qing and Hua Li were back to their senses, leaving Chu Cheng as the last one still engrossed in the pendant's powers.

    When Lan Qing saw his downcast brother, his eyebrows scrunched together. He looked at him questioningly.

    Lan Jue only quietly shook his head. Then, he returned to the spot he had been in before.

    The Pharmacist returned only a moment later. The first thing she noticed was the change in Lan Jue's mood. It was surprising, but she didn't address it. Instead she took up position before the Clairvoyant like all of the others.

    The Paragon looked at each of them. "I've told you everything I was supposed to. Prometheus, Poseidon... I would trouble you to wait outside."

    "Yes." The two of them acquiesced and stepped out of the twinkling room. Chu Cheng, Lan Jue, the Pharmacist and Luo Xianni were the only ones apart from the Clairvoyant who remained behind.

    The old seer looked at them with a calm façade. After a long time he spoke up. "In my life there have been failures and successes, it will be up to the annals of history to decide what I'm remembered for. I've said what I needed to say. When I am dead make no efforts to hide the news. It's time to forget everything that's come before and look to the future."

    Lan Jue was still reeling from the videos, but his eyes fixed on the Clairvoyant when he spoke. This was likely the last words he'd ever impart.

    The dying Paragon lifted his head to gaze upon the starry sky. His face was flushed. "I used to think I was destined to be the savior of humanity. I thought I could control everything, bend the ebb and flow of destiny to my whim. I eventually discovered that Destiny is a path that has been chosen long before I sought to make my mark. I never succeeded, but I suppose I never failed. Now I am off to meet a new reality. I don't know what will happen, but who's to say we won't meet again one day, in some other form. Know that the amulet you were given will protect you in a time of need. But that doesn't mean you are safe. You must still seek the answer to your question. All I can tell you is that it will be made clear one day."

    He knew the Clairvoyant was referring to Hera and her killer. He resolutely nodded his head.

    A smile spread across the rapidly aging Paragon's face. "Alright, it's time for me to go. I have loved, I have hated, and I have tasted jealousy. In the end it was my past regrets people will remember, but they will leave me. "

    The stars that surrounded them began to twinkle. Their soft and soothing light grew and fell upon the aging body of the Clairvoyant. He rose off of his feet and hung suspended in air. His face was ruddy and bright with life, like the abundance of youth was filling him. 1

    "Thank you all for sending me off. I'll see you all again, in the next life." As he rose through the air, the Paragon nodded his appreciation. With each passing moment the blaze of starlight reflecting off of him brightened. Suddenly, there came a surge of cosmic light and power that swept through the whole museum.

    Luo Xianni staggered to the side and cut Chu Cheng off from the shock wave. However, as the power came barreling their way it mysteriously split around them. It was like a river parting around a boulder.

    "Be at peace, Xianni. I saw the flows of time, how could I be so thoughtless in my last moment? If there is another world, Xianni, then I will wait for you there. I won't give anyone else the opportunity to get close to you." The ball of resplendent light dimmed and vanished. The Clairvoyant was nowhere to be found, as though he himself had become one of the twinkling astral bodies surrounding them.

    "Clairvoyant!" Luo Xianni shouted his name to the uncaring heavens. All of her pent up emotions were flushed out. Hate was gone, and now in her mind's eye she saw him as the young man who had helped her so much.

    Brother! That was what she lost today. Lan Jue stood in the same spot, too stunned to move. Waves of powerful emotions assailed his heart. He felt detached, like he was floating through the scene.

    The Pharmacist, her own face laden with grief, moved to his side and took his arm. But, when she looked at him again, the sadness in his eyes was gone - replaced with a determination that was hard to describe. Each second saw that determination strengthen behind fiercely bright eyes.

    "I will get strong! I'm fine, sister." He turned to the Pharmacist briefly and gave her a hug. Then, with long, resolute strides, marched from the room.

    1. This is a phenomenon called 'false yang,' or 'the last light of a fading candle'. It doesn't happen often, though my time in the terminal wards was brief. If you remember from our course on Qi, yin and yang rely on one another. Yin is the root of yang, and without it yang's upward nature will make it disconnect and float away. The sudden exuberance, the bright eyes, the ruddy cheeks and flush of energy are the last of a patient's life. All the rest of what keeps them alive is poured into a few hours so that they are full of life before passing on. It's cruel if you aren't ready for it, but a blessing if you can see it for the gift that it is.
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