Xie Ying Yue had no intention of praying to the gods.
When the sun was barely up in the sky, an intense pounding split her skull. She ran towards the ancestral hall, sloppily dressed, letting the heavy doors slam behind. A yelp followed after her as two purple clad maid servants made haste, scurrying after her.
"Bai Xia, Jing Zhe. No matter what you hear, do not enter. If anyone comes, block them." The few words from their Young Miss was set in stone. Bowing despite the absence of their mistress' gaze, the girls replied affirmative. They stood guard outside the hall, looking more formidable than handmaidens ought to.
Inside, Xie Ying Yue took out a peculiar stick of incense from her inner robes. A blue smoke escaped its tip as a flame worked down its body. Placing the incense on a burner, she pulled on her hair. In the mass of midnight tendrils, a black pin glinted in the morning light. In her hands, the ornament's energy thrashed, seemingly alive.
She ran its edge over her palm. A clean line of blood rose to color her hand. She watched as scarlet drops fell into the tile of the floor, staying for a moment, then vanishing.
"Ugh!" She groaned, feeling a wave of nausea rush over her. The pain in her head multiplied by a thousandfold. Her knees trembled, and bile rose to her throat. Ice bled into her veins, while black tinted her vision. Tremors wracked her body, as the phantom cold invaded her.
If she had not noticed the anomaly in her heart today, she would never go to this person for anything. She would never want to be indebted to a maniac.
But she feared the alternative outcome if she didn't work with him.
Her body fell, lacking strength. Her hair was sprawled on the floor, her skin which usually held a warm wheat tone took on a deathly pallor. Blood continued to fall from her palm, sucked up by the tiles below. Xie Ying Yue held her head, sitting up. She was no longer plagued with weakness like before, but her surroundings had changed drastically. A marble table appeared before her, two plush chairs alone in a dark room.
To the outside world, her body remained on the floor of the ancestral home. Unmoved, untouched.
She sat down, fiddling with the silver bracelet on her wrist. A melodious laugh filled the room, festering the unease she felt in her heart. The unrelenting warning in her brain reminded her to force her misgivings aside. There was no other option.
The shadows in the corner rippled. In the dim light of the room, silver hair glimmered. Red feline eyes peered at her. Out came a fairy like man, his skin unnaturally luminescent and clear. Not a single imperfection lay upon his face. A malicious smile graced his lips.
Xie Ying Yue didn't want to be scared, but she couldn't help it.
"Stop wasting time with your theatrics." Her voice didn't tremble, so she took that small victory as it was.
The corners of the beautiful man's eyes crinkled in mirth. "Apologies, my lady. Let me say, I'm quite impressed. Most can barely survive a first meeting. Who could have known a little fourteen year old could brave a second encounter with this diety."
He sneered in his heart. If not for this brat, would he be reduced to the state of a servant? If he could, he would have gouged her eyes out for summoning him like a dog.
The train of thought cut off as the necklace on his neck tightened, more like a collar than a piece of jewelry. He grit his teeth, quickly glancing above.
"Tell me anything immediate that concerns me or my family." Her father guarded the borders by a kingdom that was nearly the same size as their own. She believed in his ability, but if a war came to fruition, they would not be able to predict the victor. The conflict would come at the expense of her family. Her knuckles whitened as she gripped her chair.
At the command, an enormous pressure slammed into the man. Xie Ying Yue did not appear to even notice the space's intense reaction to her words.
He truly despised her.
His eyes lost their red color, leaving his eyes milky white. A blue smoke engulfed the space in seconds, leaving the girl in a coughing fit.
As if in a trance, the man spoke monotonously. "Xie Li Qiang, against five Golden Cultivators. Slowly deteriorating, poisoned with An End to Life. Xie Chang Ming, barely conscious. Disabled, right arm unresponsive. Xie guards, majority alive, heavily preoccupied by the enemy."