76 The Tomb of Two Lovers (2)

Lunging herself towards the edge of the pit, Zhu Na Ran barely managed to grab hold of her senior sister's hand. "Senior Sister, are you okay?!"

"I'm fine," the older girl responded as she managed to stop some of her fall by latching into a thin crack on the walls with her fingertips. Her long skirt just barely grazed the top of numerous iron spikes.

Among them were a few skeletons of the unfortunate fools who ventured before them.

'Yikes! ∑('=';)

Any later and Senior Sister would've joined their ranks.'

"Hah, hah, so, how is hanging, Senior Sister?"

"You, even in situations like this, you still have time to joke."

"Heh," smiling, Zhu Na Ran silently admired her senior sister's reddened face before the briefest of moments. 'It would be nice to see her flustered and embarrassed more often. Alas, it's a momentary treat that this one can savor at certain times.'

"Here, let this junior pull you up. On three."

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"One.

Two.

Three!" Zhu Na Ran fell into her back with a hard tug after pulling Ye Lian Hua out of the pit and over the edge.

'Ah, how reminiscent. This reminds this auntie of the early days. Can't believe that it's almost been a year since then…

Time sure does fly.'

"Are you hurt anywhere, Senior Sister?"

Laying on top of her, Ye Lian Hua was reeling in from the sudden movements as she slowly sat up, holding her head in one hand. "I'm fine.

Just a bit shaken, that's all."

"That's good, that's good.

So… I guess we're even now, Senior Sister." ( ◕‿◕✿)

"What… are you talking about?" Her senior sister looked at her with questioning eyes as her own grin began to grow.

"Look down, Senior Sister~," she teased as her smile grew wider. "A tit for a tat." (◔◡◔✿)

Laying on top of her chest was her senior sister's hand.

"I-I," eyes wide, her senior sister quickly retracted her hand and got off of her as she held it to her chest as if it were burnt."M-my apologizes. I-I didn't mean to grab there.

Please forgive me."

'Haha, this is the best! (*^^*)

Ah, Senior Sister is as red as a lantern!'

Sitting upright, she smiled, "Heh, no worries! I don't really mind."

After all, they were both girls, so what is a little skinship to them? ╮ ( ̄ 3 ̄) ╭

"Y-you, you shouldn't say that!" Ye Lian Hua's face continued to glow a vibrant red, even in the fleeting light.

"Hmm, why not?

I don't mind it if you, Senior Sister."

"Y-you," her senior sister continued to sputter as she smiled and admired her senior in her flustered state.

'Ah, so many memorable moments for this auntie's collection~.' (/ω\)

"Ow!" Rubbing her forehead, she pouted at her 'attacker.' "What was that for, Senior Sister?"

"Enough moping, we must keep moving," Ye Lian Hua returned to her usual serene state as if the past few moments were a mirage.

'Aiyah, I would've liked to see a little more of an embarrassed Senior Sister, but I suppose I'll take what I can get!'

---

"Wah, Senior Sister, look!"

Ahead of the pair was a plainly carved door with very minimal decorations. "Could this be the exit?"

'Or better yet, the crypt of the two lovers?' (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

At the prospect of potential treasure, a real possibility this time, she started to perk up even more.

Treasure was always good, after all. (◔◡◔✿)

"The airflow seems to be coming from this direction, so it is quite probable that this is the exit."

"But if it were the exit, wouldn't the others leave the exit open for us?" It seemed strange for the juniors to seal them inside. ?(・_・;?

"We don't know the circumstances of why this door could've been sealed, but it seems our only option is to open it."

Approaching this mysterious door, they checked for ways to open this door.

"This seemed to be a simple door, with no seals or artifacts attached to it," Ye Lian Hua observed as her eyes scanned its entirety, up and down. "Junior Sister, I believe that you could just kick this door open."

"Really?

That simple? Okay!" It seemed like an easy enough job to do.

Backing up, she gave herself some distance to get a running start.

'Alrighty, let's do this!'

Pumping her arms and picking up her feet, Zhu Na Ran charged at the stone door.

"Haiyah!" Jump kicking the door with both feet, the force of the impact shook throughout her body, but she remained unhurt.

However, the door didn't seem to budge more than an inch, as the stone doors remained tightly in place.

"Hah, that really did nothing?" Dropping down to the floor, she sighed as she hunched over to take a breather and supported herself on her shaky knees. "Kinda thought I would've been able to do more than that little sliver of movement." (´・_・`)

"Hmm, perhaps this door is thicker than I expected. Let me try."

Moving out of the way and behind her senior sister, Zhu Na Ran was curious about what Ye Lian Hua would do.

"Ice Mirror." Drawing a circle mid-air, a blue line followed Ye Lian Hua's fingertips as she drew some symbols around the circle.

'Hmm, this is new. I don't think I've ever seen this technique before.' 「(°ヘ°)

Once she was complete, the circle flashed a light blue as what seemed to be a mirror appeared in the center of the circle.

Sticking her forearm through it, a large icy replica of her arm the size of the door suddenly appeared!

'Wah! When did Senior Sister develop this?! This is so cool, and I haven't seen anything like this before! (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

I wanna learn this!'( ✧A✧)

While Zhu Na Ran was entranced with her senior sister's new skills, Ye Lian Hua focused on her target and curled her hand into a tight fist. Steadying her stance, she pulled back her fist before striking.

"Thud!"

The cave echoed with the sound of Ye Lian Hua's strike; however, just like her junior sister's effort, it proved only to be able to do so much against this stubborn door.

"Hmm, interesting," Ye Lian Hua muttered as she looked at the slight movement that her impact caused. It was no longer than a fingernail length of movement. "I've unestimated this door. It's not as simple as it appears to be."

"Uh, why you don't keep trying to pound at it, Senior Sister" — she made a show of her senior sister's movements — "and we'll get out of here in no time!"

After such an imposing skill that her senior sister possessed, they should be home free in no time.

"It's not that simple," Ye Lian Hua sighed as she dispelled her spell. "This already takes up a lot of qi to form, and this place isn't the area for cultivating."

"Hmm, true," Zhu Na Ran nodded in agreement. This deep underground labyrinth lacked a fresh flow of qi, so whatever was left here was rather weak and stale. Certainly not enough to replenish a spell that required a copious amount of qi.

"Aiyah, then what do we do then? Does that mean that we're going to be trapped here forever?" (´A`;;)

"Relax," walking over to her, her senior sister patted her on the head, reassuringly. "Why must you go to extremes? We'll find a way."

As if the Heavens took pity on the poor sisters, the caves started to rumble.

'What is this!? Σ(゜゜)

This is just like when Scaly attacked us a while back!

Wait, does that mean…!'

"Jin Gang?"

"Scaly!" ~\(≧▽≦)/~

Soon out of the walls, the serpent's smooth scaled head slithered out, this time, without the pain of an embedded crown.

"Scaly, it's good to see you again," Zhu Na Ran exclaimed as she unabashedly ran up to the fearsome being that once wanted them dead. However, in Zhu Na Ran's mind, she let bygones be bygones. "Though it's only been perhaps a few hours since we've last part, it's good to see that you're well!

It looks like your wounds are healing up nicely, too," she praised as she noticed the deep scabs that covered the areas from which the cruel crown formerly laid.

"Looks like you'll have some new scales to cover the area too later this winter," she observed as she noticed the flaking skin in some areas of the serpent's massive body. "Good for you!"( ´ ▽ ` )b

"Hiss…" flicking out its long forked tongue, it met Zhu Na Ran's hand as she petted the snake's nose.

"Hehe, that tickles, Scaly!"

"It is pleasant to meet you, Jin Gang."

"HISSS!!!" Suddenly, the snake flashed its fangs at Ye Lian Hua, menacingly, as if abhorred her speaking to it..

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