After he came to, Hei found himself in a white space.
In front of him, he could see two small children holding hands, and staring into each other’s eyes.
One of the children was Mei, in humanoid form. And the other was himself.
In other words, he was seeing himself from another perspective.
‘An out of body experience?’
From his current perspective, the two children were quite small. He could clearly see Mei’s features, and the robe he had given her. However, the connection between them was gone.
He could now look at her normally and not have any unusual reactions.
‘I wonder what all that was about.’
It was quite unnerving to have his body be hijacked. It would be a different matter if this had been how it was since he was born, but so far, he had been in full control, without any reason to believe that he wasn’t.
‘No, now that I think about it, there was one other time.’
Hei recalled the time he had involuntarily spoken the words ‘Eyes of the Heavens’ after having experienced Tianlan’s ability for the first time.
‘What does this mean?’
As he was thinking this, Hei saw two more children enter the scene. He was quite familiar with these children for they were his siblings, Bai and Tianlan.
Hei watched as they approached his body and Mei.
Tianlan spoke first.
“What is all this?”
Bai was also interested. She turned to Hei’s body and asked:
“Brother, what happened? Is this one of those summoning things you told us about?”
Hei’s body turned to Bai, but before he could answer, there was a bright light that enveloped the four.
After the light faded, the four looked very different. All of their clothes had been replaced with luxurious raiment and they had various gold and silver accessories.
To illustrate, Hei’s body was now clothed in a violet robe that had golden decorations on the sleeves and the hem as well as the edges. He had on a white shirt underneath with golden buttons. The shoes were in a style Hei had never seen before, but they looked quite fancy.
His hair, which he usually kept tied back for convenience, was now braided was flowing freely. It went down to his waist and had golden thread entwined into it. He also had a golden circlet on his head that looked quite nice.
Even Hei had to admit that his body was looking pretty good. The hair was a little long but after seeing it like this, he decided that he would wear it braided from now on.
The others were in similar clothing. Bai’s and Tianlan’s primary colours were white and blue respectively where Hei had purple, but they also had the same golden accessories.
Mei, on the other hand, had a white robe, but her designs were red and her accessories were ruby where everyone else’s accessories were gold.
After the light faded, a booming voice could be heard.
“RESONANCE. FOUR HAVE GATHERED. A FATED PAIR HAS UNITED. YOU, WHO HAVE BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED, RECLAIM THAT WHICH WAS STOLEN! RAIN DOWN JUSTICE, ENVOYS OF THE HEAVENS!”
‘What is this? Some sort of system announcement?’
Hei was hearing this for the second time, and it sounded almost like some achievements had been unlocked in a game. Initially, he had thought it was a personal message, but now he wasn’t so sure.
After the voice faded away, the four children reacted to their new appearances.
Bai spoke first.
“You look different, Brother.”
Tianlan jumped in.
“Yeah, you aren’t so ugly right now. It seems the heavens have given you a makeover.”
Hearing this, Hei couldn’t help responding.
“Shut up Tianlan! Unfortunately for you, the heavens didn’t do anything about your creepy eyes. You think that blue robe does anything for you?”
He was quite disgruntled. Tianlan was made even more handsome by his new appearance.
Hearing Hei’s words, all four children turned over and looked at him with confused faces.
Tianlan spoke first.
“Who are you? And why are you insulting me?”
Hei was surprised. He didn’t think they would be able to hear him.
“What are you talking about? It’s me, Hei. Is your circlet on too tight? You can’t even recognise your brother?”
Bai and Tianlan turned over to the other Hei.
“Is this one of those crazy and unreliable angels who steal people from their homes and give them unreasonable tasks?”
Hearing these words, Hei was feeling odd. He had used the same words to describe Crystalia when he was telling his siblings the details of his situation.
He never imagined that they would one day be used to describe him.
The other Hei turned to Bai and answered with an awkward tone.
“Hello, Brother and Sister. This is the first time we are speaking. It’s nice to meet you.”
Both Bai and Tianlan were confused. What was their brother talking about?
Seeing the other Hei speaking independently, Hei had a realisation.
He lowered his head and observed his body. He realised that his hands were bigger than what he was used to and that he was wearing familiar clothes. The very same clothes he had been wearing on the day Crystalia abducted him.
‘I see. I’m back in my original body. This also explains the higher viewpoint.’
Kaner decided to share his findings with his siblings.
“Alright. So, it goes like this. I am Kaner, the one who is from another world. If I’m not mistaken, your brother here is the original Hei who was supposed to be born, but I ended up snatching his body from him.”
Kaner paused for a moment to allow Hei to come up with a counter-argument.
After confirming that there wasn’t one, he continued.
“Originally, I had assumed that there was no other Hei, but it seems that we have both been dwelling within the same body. For most things, I am in control, but sometimes Hei overrides me.”
Kaner had figured out why he had that strange connection to Mei. It was due to the original Hei’s influence.
“In this case, I’m pretty sure that Hei and Mei are what can be called soulmates.”
Hearing this, Bai questioned:
“Mm. It’s a concept in my world, that for every person, there is another person who perfectly complements them. They are essentially made for each other. In this case, that voice had said that a fated pair had united. and I’m going to assume that they are Hei and Mei.”
This was what Kaner had come up with after hearing the voice and recalling what happened earlier. It seemed this little Hei and Mei were soul mates, and being envoys of the heavens, in addition, caused a strong reaction, which in turn caused this phenomenon of being dragged into this place.
“The voice had said ‘resonance’. I’m assuming that the connection between Hei and Mei was the thing that dragged us all here. Somehow Little Bai and Tianlan were also dragged here.”
“Mm. It happened when we tried to check in you… or him…”
Bai responded, but she didn’t know who to direct her reply to.
“And the fact that it said that four have gathered probably means that I’m not an envoy of the heavens. However, since I am in the same body as Hei, I’m getting dragged into all of this.”
Kaner realised that he was about to go off on a tangent, complaining about how things always happened to him. So, he decided to get back on track. He turned to Hei.
“This changes things. Originally, I had thought that our body would die if I were to return home, but now I’m thinking that you will regain control of it. This is good because you will still be here to protect Little Bai and the Shao Clan.”
After saying this, Kaner asked:
“How much of our life have you experienced?”
“I am awake when you are, and I have the same experiences.”
Kaner sharpened his eyes as he looked at Hei.
“Let me warn you. Keep your emotions in check, OK? I don’t want to feel you again. You’re a nuisance.”
Kaner could see Hei getting angry, so he continued.
“What are you getting all upset about? Don’t you realise that after I leave this world, you will have everything I have built?”
Hearing this, Hei calmed down, but he had a worried face as he looked at Mei, who also had a worried face.
“Don’t worry about your little wife here. I’ll keep her safe. And you, Mei, I know you have some weird desire for Hei, but realise that most of the time, it’s me who is in control. Eventually, the two of you can be together, but as long as I’m here, we shut this nonsense down.”
Kaner was still salty about the whole thing. He was forced to feel some strange love for a little girl. How was he supposed to face his mother after this?
After venting a little, he turned to Bai and Tianlan.
“And the two of you, I’m still the same brother you knew. You’re just seeing my true form. And this should also confirm that what I’ve been telling you was true.”
Bai was distraught. She had to accept that the brother that she had grown so close to was going to leave her forever at some point. But at the same time, the person she was supposed to have known was standing right beside her.
How was she supposed to choose between the brother that she loved but who wasn’t her real brother, and her blood brother, who she didn’t know at all?
“Do you really have to go?”
At this point, tears were welling up in her eyes.
Seeing this, Kaner felt like he was doing something wrong. How could he be the one to cause Bai to cry in pain?
But in the end, he had a duty to return home.
No matter how much he cared for Bai, he couldn’t leave his parents wondering where he had disappeared to.
If he didn’t do everything in his power to return home, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.
He walked up to her and placed his hand on her head, which now felt much smaller than usual.
“I have to go, but while I’m here, we will have the most fun anyone has ever had.”
He smiled and gave her a thumbs up, which seemed to do the trick.
Bai was still unhappy, but she realised that her brother wasn’t someone who could abandon his family. Even if it meant he had to abandon his family…
It was one of the things she loved the most about him.
That he would go through great pain to help his siblings grow, and that he would allow himself to be severely injured, just to retrieve her doll for her, bears testament to how much he cared for his family.
After the moment between Kaner and Bai, Hei stepped in.
“I remember you said something about a main character aura, and that young ladies would flock to one. This includes yourself, does it not? What will you do when that happens?”
He was thinking of Mei.
With Kaner being in control of their body most of the time, he was unable to pursue a relationship with Mei, who he shared a deep connection with.
Feeling the way he did, he couldn’t see himself with anyone else. So he was worried about what Kaner would do with their body, and how it could negatively affect his relationship with Mei.
Kaner was surprised to hear this question.
‘So, he really does experience everything. What about my thoughts? Are those still private? They should be. After all, I’ve never heard his.’
Kaner was thinking about multiple things at the same time before he answered.
“Me? You don’t have to worry about that. I have seen the face of an angel… sort of. And nothing can compare.”
Kaner was talking about the moment when Crystalia’s radiance dimmed while she was in her adult form. Even though he couldn’t see her face clearly, she was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
If he didn’t have feelings for her, then how could anyone he met here do anything for him? It would be like throwing aside the sparkly diamond and instead, going after the salt rock.
Hearing Kaner’s words, Hei was reassured.
After that was settled, Kaner looked up into the whiteness and spoke.
“So, when are you going to let us out?”
As he finished those words, a door appeared out of nowhere.
It was a big golden arched gate that led to darkness.
“Time to go.”
Kaner spoke as he signalled to the others. He took the lead and walked past the gate first. As he did, his body faded into the blackness.
If he were more cautious, he would have first doubted the gate, but they didn’t really have any other way.
Shortly after Kaner left, Bai and Tianlan Followed.
After that, Hei and Mei walked up to the gate, still holding hands, and stopped at the threshold. They turned to look at each other.
After a while, they were still standing there, and they could hear an annoyed voice.
“Yeah, yeah. Lovey-dovey fun times. But some of us have things to do.”
Two hands appeared from the blackness and grabbed them both by the collars. This was Kaner who had been waiting for a while.
One couldn’t see the other side of the gate from the white space, but those on the other side of the gate could see into the white space.
At first, he decided to let them have their moment, but their moment was turning into an hour. So, he decided to quite literally take matters into his own hands, as he dragged them through the gate.