The 72 hours was finally over.
Ye Ci thought that she would be released before Fleeting Time.
But due to her mistake in managing her time, she was released along with Fleeting Time.
And this foiled her plan to abandon him the moment they left prison.
Fleeting Time was following not far behind her even as she made her way down the long prison hallway, maintaining a distance that was not too far apart, but was not too close to her.
The sunlight at the end of the long hallway just ahead was a welcoming sight to Ye Ci. She could finally see the sun, and she was finally free of a certain dangerous individual who was sharing her cell.
“Gongzi You!” someone called out to Ye Ci before she could take off and gain her freedom.
She stopped in her tracks and turned around out of reflex just in time to see Fleeting Time walking slowly towards her. He had called her by her full name instead of ‘Little Gongzi’. It was not something that she was used to, but Ye Ci was able to bring herself to quickly adjust to the situation, “What is it?”
But Fleeting Time remained silent as he continued walking towards Ye Ci.
His footsteps were firm and unwavering as he made his way to Ye Ci and stared at her face with an unfathomable expression.
“What is it?” asked Ye Ci again. But the tone of her voice was calm. It was not the tone she would always use when speaking with an enemy, but one she normally used.
“It’s nothing. I just wanted to have another look at your face.” Fleeting Time sighed and gave an honest answer.
And Ye Ci was rendered speechless by his words. She did not know how she would be interacting with Fleeting Time in the future, but she was fairly certain that they were not that close yet at the present.
He was acting so familiar with her. So familiar that in fact she could not muster up a response other than a simple “Oh.”
And at the face of such a distant attitude, Fleeting Time responded with a smile. He then pulled Ye Ci into a tight hug.
Ye Ci was caught off guard by his sudden gesture. It took her quite a moment to recover from the shock and she began struggling to push him away, “Let go of me, Fleeting Time! What are you doing? Let go…”
But Fleeting Time would not budge. He let out a long sigh into Ye Ci’s ears. And the warmth of his breath was like a magic that calmed Ye Ci down. “Let go of me.” she said once again, but with a softer voice.
“Allow me just one last hug.” Fleeting Time finally spoke up. His voice, laced with a sense of sorrow that Ye Ci had never seen before reverberated in the silent hallway.
And Ye Ci finally calmed down. Why am I not resisting? Even Ye Ci herself did not have an answer to this question. But she could feel the warmth of Fleeting Time’s hug. It was very real. But it was different from the warmth of Bai Mo and even her parents.
She remained silent in her embrace just like that. She could even hear the thumping of Fleeting Time’s heart as she leaned against his chest.
A sudden thought appeared in her mind. There are some people in this world that we are able to connect with even when we are not close. What do we call them?
She did not know. But the feeling was a pleasant one.
“It’s a shame. Why must we end up as enemies?” Fleeting Time let out a long sigh.
“How is that a bad thing?” It was indeed nothing bad for Ye Ci, as this meant that they would not be seeing each other frequently. Even she herself did not know when she was no longer able to act naturally around Fleeting Time. And she was afraid of this change.
She did not like that feeling.
“Of course it’s a good thing to you.” Fleeting Time grimaced, “You would be even happier if I disappear from your life completely.”
Ye Ci was at a loss for words.
And Fleeting Time did not utter more words as well. He tightened his embrace, and let go of her slowly. The emotions swirling in his eyes as he spoke was something Ye Ci did not recognise, “I’ll be looking forward to our next meeting.”
“Our next meeting?” it was something that Ye Ci had never considered. She pursed her lips at him, but made no attempts to refute his words. She nodded at Fleeting Time, and nodded again.
“Go.” Fleeting Time patted Ye Ci’s shoulder with a smile and pointed towards the light not far ahead, “Leave this place.”
“What about you.”
I have somewhere else to be.” Fleeting Time shrugged.
Ye Ci nodded at Fleeting Time. She was never an overly curious person. She turned around and headed towards the entrance of the prison. Fleeting Time stared at Ye Ci as she left. He took in a deep breath when Ye Ci finally disappeared into the light, and walked slowly towards the entrance.
“There’s something you need from me, Silent?” Fleeting Time studied his surroundings when he was finally out of the prison. Ye Ci was nowhere to be seen. He pulled up his hood and sent a message to Silent Hymn who had been trying to get into contact with him.
“Have you been released yet?” came the instant response.
“I just did. I’m standing at the entrance of the prison. What is it?” Fleeting Time was quick to walk away from the prison. Standing at such a place would usually not attract any attention, but the area around the prison had begun bustling with activity ever since the duo was imprisoned. It was not a wise move to remain in its vicinity.
“Hero City’s Guard Captain is giving out a quest to a solo dungeon with a mysterious map as its reward. I have a feeling that it’s a key to a hidden dungeon. Many of our guild’s members have accepted the quest, but none of them was able to clear the dungeon. I need you to go have a look and see if you can’t accept that quest.”
“Can’t you just make a guide from the intelligence gathered by the members that have entered the dungeon? Why must I go?” Fleeting Time was curious.
“The interior of the dungeon is randomized. We do not have enough intelligence to make a guide yet,” Silent Hymn grimaced at the question, “Go give it a shot. According to my sources, some of Golden Era’s vanguards have accepted the quest as well. We must not fall behind.” Fleeting Time accepted the request after a brief moment of thought.
Ye Ci’s immediate destination after leaving the prison was Red Lake City. Her Mysterious Egg was almost about to hatch. If it contains a strong pet, then it will be worth her time.
Ye Ci made her way to the Flight Manager, paid her fees, and mounted a Gryphon.
The Gryphon soared into the skies and towards Red Lake City, leaving Hero City that was the source of her troubles for the last few days.
One would find travel from Hero City to Champion City and then to Red Lake city relatively easy if one had the money to pay. And Ye Ci was quick to arrive at her destination.
The incident in Hero City might have been in the past for Ye Ci, but it was not the case for the other players. It was still one of the hottest gossiping topics in the game. And many different versions of the story had been shared among players.
Ye Ci had heard at least 5 different versions of the story between her and Fleeting Time during her short walk from the Teleportation Stone to the City Hall. But what could she do but to ignore the rumors? It would take a long time before the topic was finally washed away by the river of time.
Ye Ci let out a sigh. The only thing she could do was to lay low. She pulled her hood lower to conceal her entire face and quickened her pace towards the pet shop.
The pet shop entered her view after a short while. Due to the new patch, acquisition of pet eggs was made easier. And the once quiet pet shop was bustling with activities.
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