The ruckus in the chasm just grew louder and louder. Soon, the bizarre sound of chirping seemed to gather together like a wave… A moment later, a black cloud suddenly soared out from the chasm.
On paying closer attention, the black cloud was formed by countless black swallows.
Standing by one side, Lu Chen observed the swallows carefully and noticed that there was a crimson-red circle around their beaks. Also, on their tail, there were a few red feathers amidst the black ones and they were bright in contrast to the surrounding black feathers. These swallows seemed to fulfill the image of the ‘Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow’ that Hong Chuan spoke of.
Standing on the edge of the depression, Hong Chuan was in a better position to observe the appearance of the swallows. A look of delight appeared on his face. Then, muttering some words in his mouth, his hands suddenly jerked and the thin net opens with a whoosh, scattering into the sky and falling onto the flock of swallows.
A series of frenzied chirping could be heard as chaos broke out among the flock of swallows. The holes in the mysterious net weren’t too big or too small, the exact size required to capture these flying swallows. At the same moment, the net emanated a faint glow and it closed itself in midair, trapping the dozens of flying swallows within before returning back towards Hong Chuan’s hand.
From the throwing of the net to the returning of the net, it was truly a mystical sight. For the net to possess such abilities, it was obviously one of the legendary mystical tools of the cultivators.
Lu Chen stared at the entire process from one side and a hint of a smile crept on to his lips. His gaze shifted from the chasm to Hong Chuan as he stared intently at him.
Despite standing right beside the chasm, the steep slope not too far from his feet, Hong Chuan wasn’t afraid at all. His gaze remained on the mysterious net in the air. Stretching out his hands, he grabbed the net and looked into it. Jubilation surged through him as he turned around to smile at Lu Chen, “No doubt about it, this is the Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow!”
Lu Chen nodded, “That’s great.” After saying it, a thought flashed through his mind and out of curiosity, he asked, “I remember that these swallows aren’t spirit beasts, so why would you want to capture them?”
Hong Chuan reached into the net and grabbed a swallow. He looked carefully at the swallow’s tail before plucking out a crimson feather. Then, his hand loosened as he set the swallow free.
Holding the crimson feather, he smiled toward Lu Chen, “Just for this. The Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow may not be a spirit beast, but the crimson feather it is born with is a work of art. If one is willing to go through the trouble, it could be weaved into a beautiful shawl. One of the elders in my sect is interested in it, so I specially came here to look for the crimson feather so as to pay my respects towards her.”
“So that’s the reason.” Lu Chen came to a realisation. No wonder Hong Chuan was so interested in the swallows, he wanted to flatter her… keng, show his respects!
After understanding the whole story, Lu Chen calmly found a rock to sit on as he patiently watched Hong Chuan capture the swallows with his mysterious net.
The net was peculiar but useful. Every throw of the net would always capture something, so it didn’t take him long to capture a lot of swallows.
However, Lu Chen soon realised that Hong Chuan had high expectations over the quality of the crimson feather. Normal ones, flawed ones and dull ones, he wouldn’t take any of them. Basically, he would only pick the perfect crimson feathers.
Thus, the speed of his gathering slowed. Also, after checking the feathers on their tail, Hong Chuan would not kill them and would set them free. From the look of it, he was a person who treasured life.
After waiting for a moment, seeing that Hong Chuan had collected a dozen or so of the beautiful crimson feathers, he couldn’t resist asking, “How many feathers do you need?”
Without hesitation, Hong Chuan replied, “At least a hundred.”
“Oh”, Lu Chen said. “Take your time.”
Hong Chuan sent a grin toward him before focusing his attention back on capturing the swallows.
Just like that, they stayed by the side of the chasm for a long time. The swallows also appeared to hunt for food around this mountain, so the black swallow cloud gathered in the sky above them. In an hour, Hong Chuan was finally on the verge of completing his mission.
He gathered up the crimson feathers and counted them. There were a total of 98 of them. He smiled towards Lu Chen and said, “Just one more net would suffice.”
Lu Chen replied with a nod and a smile. Hong Chuan walked back to the side of the chasm and prepared to toss the net once more. However, perhaps due to the flow of time, the sky had already darkened and the number of swallows had decreased significantly; there were only a few of them scattered around the place.
Hong Chuan could barely capture a couple of them with a single net. At the same time, most of the swallows were flying noisily towards the cliff.
Looking at that sight, Hong Chuan panicked. He widened his eyes and waited for the opportune moment. Suddenly, a small group of swallows flew over. There were around a dozen of them and they were heading for the chasm as well. Seeing how most of the swallows had disappeared from the sky, Hong Chuan panicked and took a step forward to toss his net toward that last group of swallows.
The light on the mysterious net flickered. As expected of a mystical treasure, it surrounded the swallows perfectly and flew back over. Out of joy, Hong Chuan stepped forward to grab it. However, at this moment, he suddenly heard a shout of alarm from Lu Chen behind him, “Be careful of where you step!”
Hong Chuan’s heart skipped a beat. He subconsciously looks downward but before he could react, his body inclined forward and he fell.
It seemed that the spot where he stood a moment ago wasn’t far from the edge of the cliff. Due to his agitation from the final net he tossed, he forgot to pay attention to his surroundings and beneath his feet. He stepped on thin air and slipped, causing him to tumble forward.
This time, Hong Chuan was shocked and he exclaimed in distress. His hands and feet randomly grabbed and stepped about the cliff as he tried to latch onto some rock or grass by the cliff to maintain his balance.
However, as he fell down suddenly, the momentum from his fall caused those rock and grass to dislodge so he was unable to sustain his grip. His body fell downwards uncontrollably. At this moment, a figure rushed forward and in the blink of an eye, he stretched out his hand to grab Hong Chuan’s palm, stopping the descent of his body.
Hong Chuan’s momentum downwards halted as he hanged for a moment in free air. His entire body was dangling in midair with the exception of his right hand, which was grabbed by Lu Chen who rushed all the way to the cliff.
The mountain wind blew and their faces turned ghastly white, the two of them traumatised.