The night wind whistles and the stream ripples, green bamboos sway and peach blossom trees shiver. Chen Lu walks towards the foot of the mountain and into the straw cottage.
The straw cottage is empty and silent. As usual, Lu Chen stares at the gray grass stem as it floats down before turning around to shut the door. He walks to his bed and lies on it.
In the darkness, the mysterious howling of the ghosts sounds outside the windows yet again. He lies silently in the shadow as it slowly consumes his body. Just like that, he seems to have submerged into a deep sleep.
As the night sky darkens and the wind cries, no one seems to remember the presence of this lonely straw cottage by the foot of the mountain. Even so, in a particular moment in the depths of the night, suddenly, in the straw cottage, at the darkest corner concealed by the shadows, a stifled groan sounds out.
Lu Chen abruptly opens his eyes. Everything before is pitch black, yet a fearsome flame seems to be burning.
The black-colored flames bursts forth from every single corner of his body and dances frenziedly as though a poisonous snake, burning all flesh and blood on his body. Yet, his clothes remain completely intact.
Everything is silent, yet in the next instant, the world seems to suddenly fall apart. No howl of agony in this world seems to be able to match the wretched screams at this very moment. A short moment later, the bed abruptly shakes slightly and Lu Chen disappears.
The next moment, Lu Chen lands onto a solid surface. Once again, he arrives in the mysterious space that resembles a tree hollow.
Under the shine of the gentle light, the black flames shrouds the entirety of Lu Chen’s body, turning him into a human torch. He screams from the excruciating pain. Staggering, he dives into the puddle in the center of the hollow.
Huala, water splashes about. Once again, he enters the pool of green water filled with vitality. Almost the same moment as when he entered the water, the frenziedly burning black flames seem to have been suppressed. The fire slowly dies down before retreating back into Lu Chen’s body.
Everything seems the same as before. The water gently ripples and the mysterious life force from the water seeps into Lu Chen’s body, healing the glaring wounds left behind by the burning blame flames until not a single scar could be seen.
After an unknown period of time, Lu Chen sits upright in the water and glances at his body. After which, he surveys this pool of emerald water.
The water is light green as it sways faintly about, an extremely beautiful sight.
However, when he found this location out of coincidence ten years ago, this pool of water had a shade of deep green. Back then, the life force in it is so rich that you could almost breath it in. Yet, it is gradually thinning down.
On the other hand, the relapse of the black flames seem to be happening in closer intervals.
If the last shed of emerald were to disappear from this pool, what kind of outcome would be awaiting him?
He continues sitting in the pool for a very long time with an indifferent expression as he ponders solemnly.
Spring seems to be slowly drifting away and the weather is starting to heat up. Dawn is arriving earlier day after day and the Spirit Tea Trees on the tea mountain prosper.
Birds are calling on top of the large chinese scholar tree beside the clear stream. Under the tree, the old fisherman is still fishing. One morning, when Lu Chen wakes up, he sees smoke rising from the villages below the mountain. Just as he is thinking whether he should steel his determination today, he suddenly sees a figure walking towards his straw cottage.
From a distance away, he can tell that it is Ding Dang.
From that day on, he has never went to look for Ding Dang. Naturally, Ding Dang also didn’t try to find him. Just like that, a familiar and close duo suddenly became strangers. That is, until this day, when she suddenly visits this straw cottage.
As the sun rays shine downwards, Lu Chen realises that she is slightly panting as she walks over. Her chest is slightly expanding and contracting in rhythm and her face is flushed red. Even so, she is still indescribably beautiful. Upon catching sight of Lu Chen, Ding Dang shoots him a smile before happily calling out to him, “Hey, long time no see.”
Lu Chen smiles and nods, “Indeed.”
Ding Dang turns around to survey the surroundings. As she looks at the tea mountain just slightly away and the village in the distance at the bottom of the mountain, she sighs, “Living at the foot of the mountain is tranquil, not to mention the beautiful scenery. If I had known earlier, I would have stayed here.”
Lu Chen smiles, “You won’t like this location when night falls.”
Ding Dang chuckles. She takes a good look at Lu Chen before asking, “How have you been recently?”
Lu Chen replies, “Not bad, how about you?”
Ding Dang responds, “Same as well.”
Lu Chen nods his head, “That’s great.”
Following which, an awkward silence drifts between them abruptly, as though there is nothing to say, not even intentionally acting oblivious to it could salvage the situation.
The silence continues and the two of them look slightly lost. After a short period of time, Lu Chen coughs slightly and asks, “So, what is the reason behind your visit?”
Ding Dang ponders for a moment before replying, “There is something which I would like to tell you.”
Lu Chen responds, “Oh, go ahead.”
“Can you lend me 300 Spirit Stones?” Ding Dang asks abruptly after another moment of silence.
Lu Chen also went silent. He stares into Ding Dang’s eyes.
Ding Dang looks a little distress as fluster appears in her gaze. She subconsciously turns away. Yet, in the next instant, she seems to have thought of something and bucks up her courage before turning back to look at Lu Chen and asks softly, “Is it possible?”
Lu Chen didn’t respond, neither did he reject her. After staring at her silently, he asks, “What do you need it for?”
Ding Dang is surprised by Lu Chen’s abnormal calmness. However, she didn’t have the leisure to be pondering about this right now. Inhaling deeply, hesitation appears in her eyes. She opens her mouth just to close it. In the end, she sighs and says, “I need it urgently.” After which, she sneaks another peek at Lu Chen and hesitates for another moment before asking, “If the sum is too great, can you lend me 200 first?”
Lu Chen went silent for another moment before asking, “Is it very urgent?”
Ding Dang nods her head vigorously, “Very urgent.” Then, she continues with a soft tone, “I can’t think of anyone else who would help me in this village, so I could only come over to find you.”
Lu Chen smiles. His eyes turns downwards and after a short moment, responds, “I don’t have much Spirit Stones in my possession right now. Give me a day, I will see if I can make out the sum for you.”
Eyes turn downwards (No.5)
Ding Dang is overjoyed. She cheers and nods her head continuously with an exhilarated expression.
The quiet and bland life continues. The villagers of the Clear Stream Village welcome the arrival of the warm and beautiful summer, after the departure of spring. However, other than the weather heating up and the calls of the crickets on the trees of the village, there doesn’t seem to be much change to life in the village.
That is, until the 4th day of the 6th month, the sudden arrival of a certain news caused a commotion in this little mountainous village!