Children ran on the streets while the vendors promoted their sales at the loudest of their voices, the excited murmurs of the crowds and the sweet whispers of the lovers- nothing fell in Jun Lan's ears. The only exception being the continuous ringing of her racing heartbeats.
There was not a pause in her steps- turning right into the crowded alley, she mixed herself in the bustling crowds. She hoped for her pursuers, if any, to lose her trail in this human myriad.
'How can you be so careless?' she berated her over-confident self, pushing back the feelings of remorse to the back of her mind, she concentrated on her escape.
" Kai, Is she the one?" Yujin's demure voice questioned, his eyes fixed on the petite and masked figure who was currently trying her best to mingle with the crowds.
"Yes." answered the young boy, who saw through Jun Lan's facade back in the trading house.
'Is the face behind the mask as beautiful as you portrayed?' Yujin wondered as he observed the picture scroll in his hands.
As if reading his questions, Kai cleared his doubts "After capturing her you can see for yourself. My eyes always see the truth."
"Heh!" Yujin exclaimed before resorting to a teasing voice "Are you sure? There is one thing which even your eyes cannot see..."
"Quit your antics and capture her, lest you want to anger our master!" Kai snapped, successfully interrupting the man's teasing thoughts. All traces of humour disappeared from his expression at the mention of the word 'Master.'
Remembering the task at hand, Yujin moved his hand,following which a wave a thin layer of light traveled towards Jun Lan, the latter having no idea about her impending doom at the moment as she sauntered her way through the carts.
Time passed by and a wave of fatigue washed over Jun Lan's body. Beads of sweat started to accumulate between her brows, but she had not sensed anyone tailing her. Though the nervousness in her heart ceased, Jun Lan did not dare to relax her guards. Sweeping a cautious glance over her surroundings and only after making sure that no one is really tailing her did she breath out in relief.
Just as she felt safe and abandoned the idea of hiding, Jun Lan felt something tighten around her neck and her body.
Her mind stopped working and her body went immobile, she felt a force knocking the consciousness out of her before she found a familiar darkness consume her entirely.
Inside the underground training grounds, several men dressed in purple robes listened attentively to Xu Zian's instructions, their ramrod postures indicating their unwavering reverence to him.
"We managed to get these rare manuals of cultivation, thanks to my close friend..." Xu Zian said, to which all the men nodded their heads in harmony, their excited chatters filling the room.
Seated on a wooden table and with legs dangling freely in the air, Fluffy observed these group of upright men with a bored expression. He shifted his eyes to the oil lamp, the dancing flames of the lamp appeared more interesting to him than these group of men.
All of a sudden, he understood why he was feeling so bored...
He was missing the ultimate devil, his master!
As weird as it sounded to his ears, his heart vouched for it's credibility.
Truth be told, Fluffy felt that no matter how infuriating it may be, his master's antics were more lively and enjoyable than these bland men in the room.
'What is the devil doing now?' with a frown on his face, Fluffy wondered as he felt the fluctuations in their soul link. The fluctuations in their link only increased which gave rise to an ominous premonition in his heart.
'Is she in danger?'
The mere thought of his master being in danger enraged him, with a red face and huffing chest, Fluffy closed his eyes to trace her location.
Before he could pinpoint her whereabouts, Fluffy felt her presence disappear completely and the link between them getting severed. Fluffy felt his heart stop for a moment and a deep pain seep from his heart and travel to his bones. Despite the type of relationship between a master and her spirit beast, separation of any kind is only a curse for the Spirit beast.
Though he displayed only annoyance for his master, Fluffy never hated her. So, the emptiness in his soul and the tearing pain in his heart are a live reminder of his reverence to his little master.
His eyes slowly turned red and his smooth white nails slowly turned black and extended like vines, making him look savage and bloodthirsty.
Red, that was all Fluffy could see and a primal growl escaped his lips attracting the attention of Xu Zian.
Xu Zian who was entirely engrossed in educating his men turned around abruptly on hearing a low but deep growl behind him. On seeing the agitated fox, he felt uneasy in his heart. The expression on Fluffy's face was one he could understand as his Qilin had the same expression whenever he was in danger.
His Qilin had always been majestic and even when angered, there had not been much difference in the appearance. But, the current appearance of the tailed fox stunned even the nonchalant Xu Zian. Wisps of black hair danced alongside his silver hair and the snowy tails now turned into a black furry mass. Only, if not for his frightening red eyes, Fluffy could be considered as a cold but handsome specimen.
Moreover, the all time peaceful spirit beasts display such animosity only when it's related to their masters.
'Is the little thief in trouble?' at that brewing thought, Xu Zian tossed away the books in his hand and leaped towards the raging fox.
"What happened to her?"
"Where is she?"
Xu Zian's questioning was only met with silence, a silence which he found both eerie and uncomfortable.
Before Xu Zian could question further, Fluffy lifted his head revealing his blood red orbs, the blood red being a clear reflection of his inner agony and anger.
"I have to find her!" Fluffy declared, to which Xu Zian immediately responded.
"I am coming with you."
Fluffy knew nothing about Xu Zian, but he knew his master's unwavering trust in the man. What made Fluffy decided to take Xu Zian was the look of fear and concern in the latter's eyes.
"Fine then, let's go." Fluffy declared, with a snap of his fingers, both the figures disappeared from the place.
"Why did you bring us here?" Taking in the busy surroundings around him, Xu Zian asked in a puzzled tone.
" She was standing here when she last disappeared." Fluffy said, the slight quiver in his tone giving away his panic.
"Are you saying that you are not able to sense her?"
Fluffy could sense the displeasure from Xu Zian, but, he was in no position to retort as he was quiet dissatisfied with himself. Spirit beasts could sense their masters and him not being able to sense Jun Lan, was truly a shameful thing. Spreading his aura once again, Fluffy tried to search for her presence only to be met by nothingness.
'How could she disappear into thin air?' wondered Xu Zian, as fear started to creep into his heart. They were standing in the middle of the market and there was no way for a person to be kidnapped in between this crowd.
Fluffy knew that Jun Lan was alive, but he was not able to trace her. This could only mean one thing- a determined look flashed in Fluffy's eyes as he turned towards Xu Zian.