Jade's light laughter once again filled the cave.
The truth was that she had always known that Meiying had the ability to unseal herself. In fact, it was partially because Elder Daiyu knew that Jade would be able to see through something like that that he hadn't even considered the fact Meiying might have gotten help from Dyon. That said, the other reason was because he had personally witnessed Dyon's soul fatigue – he didn't think that, at that point, Dyon could do anything about the array even if he had the mind to.
However, Jade had chosen to say nothing, instead quietly scheming and waiting for an opportunity. And now, it was here.
"You definitely knew all of this time. Even if your True Empathy isn't perfect, it's enough to tell something like that!" Chenglei immediately deduced that they had been played. His anger exploded and he nearly lunged toward Jade, but, his grandfather's withered old hand clamped his shoulder.
"Stop. What's done is done and we're running out of time." As an elder, he had already regained his calm. How long had he spent in the Martial World? He was very much used to things like this already.
"You're quite smart grandfather in law. I appreciate that." Jade said lightly, "However, my first condition is that I am no longer a concubine of the Daiyu family."
"What would you like to be?" Elder Daiyu asked, assuming she wanted higher status.
"No, no. I'm not asking to be a true wife. I'm asking to be released entirely. I wouldn't mind if you burned all records of me ever having married into your family too."
Elder Daiyu raised an eyebrow. He didn't understand the movements of this girl. By all rights, she should need backing. She can't go back to the Elves for obvious reasons, and she was a young girl with weak meridian formation cultivation. What could she possibly do on her own?
Jade only continued to wait for an answer, unperturbed by Elder Daiyu's doubt. After all, as a talented True Empath, the last thing she was worried about was surviving in the world. She'd be able to see threats coming far before anyone else.
"Okay. We'll release you from your responsibility. What else?" Elder Daiyu decided to just let it be. Although Jade's abilities were useful, she was no longer a necessity. And, as an ancient family of this universe, how could the Daiyu not know about the Epistemic Tower? After all, much of the reason they were willing to groom Chenglei was to conquer it!
Once their Chenglei conquered the tower, they'd then be able to take their time in finding someone who had the affinity to take the True Empath trials and gain those abilities. That person should have been Jade, but since she didn't want it, they were in no hurry to force her.
A hidden smile played behind Jade's mask, "I'm going to have to ask you to make a soul contract with me for the rest of these requests."
Chenglei stomped forward, "You! You're aware that my grandfather's soul has been heavily damaged, and you still ask for such a thing?!"
Jade giggled, "Your grandfather loves you very much. In fact, the whole Daiyu family sees you as their future. Don't belittle yourself just because I have no interest in being your wife. Why would you assume I meant Elder Daiyu and not you?"
Making a soul contract was little else than tearing away a piece of your soul to bind it to a set of conditions. In the grand scheme of things, it only took a few hours to restore your soul perfectly with no adverse effects – the speed was even faster if your soul talent or soul cultivation method was better. The reason why Chenglei hadn't wanted his grandfather to do it was because this was a process far more excruciating for someone whose soul was already damaged.
However, that wasn't why Chenglei was hesitant. The process was very painful and, he was essentially putting his life on the line. Should the Daiyu fail to meet any of the conditions, he would die.
That said, Chenglei knew that it was his fault this was happening to begin with. He was no coward. "I'll do it."
Elder Daiyu looked at his grandson's side profile before nodding in satisfaction.
"Haha, I'm beginning to think that taking that pound of flesh from that little girl is the best move I've made in my life." Jade giggled to herself. "Now we can get to business. Shall we?"
Meiying's hands trembled. She had given up so much. Much of her life. Her relationship with her family. Her dignity…
"Hey, hey…" Dyon said softly, closing the box.
He gently cradled Meiying's head, giving her a much-needed hug. He didn't need much thought to figure out whose flesh that was… It was none of than Meiying's own.
Her leg injury was much more severe than she was letting on. The fact she had even managed to run so far was a testament to her tenacity and grit. Dyon couldn't imagine what she had been through all this time. But, what he did know was that just because she had kept her virginity, didn't mean that she hadn't gone through horrible things… Forced to do… Horrible things…
And yet, she had done them without hesitation, because she felt like she was doing something good. But to see her hard work mean nothing… It hurt her beyond belief and everything she had been holding in, flooded outwards…
So, she buried head in Dyon's chest and cried…