For the first time in several decades, an elder from Thousand Autumn Doors had set his eyes upon a young man in Clear Stream Village. When the young man paid the fee to ascertain his roots through the Immortal Discerning Mirror, the elder from Thousand Autumn Doors was proven to be spot-on. The young man had overwhelming talent and thus, he was accepted as a qinchuan disciple.
Qinchuan -> Under the direct tutelage of an elder/sect leader etc
An uproar broke out in Clear Stream Village and everyone ran about spreading the news.
There were countless people envious of him. As for who the lucky person was, he was none other than the person who had caused quite a commotion in the last few days, the carefree Li Ji gongzi.
Gongzi -> Gentleman
In current times, joining a cultivator sect was no different from marrying into royalty. Upon doing so, their prospects soar to the skies and their lives will be completely different. The scholarly young man who was smiling gently under the green bamboos by the stream drawing portraits of ladies yesterday is now standing high up in the clouds, looking down on the masses, no longer approachable as he was.
Thus, the ladies of the village lamented deeply over their loss. There were a few of them who carefully mounted their paintings on their walls and gazed at it everyday, treating them as though precious memories of theirs to reminisce about when they’re older.
There were not anyone who truly held wishful thinking over him. It was just that, whenever they gathered together to talk about this Li gongzi, they would argue over whom he treated better in those days.
Gongzi -> Gentleman
The weather gradually grew hotter and fewer headed over to the tavern for a drink. As a result, Old Ma’s business wasn’t doing very well. Most of the time, there would only be Lu Chen eating and drinking for free. This made Old Ma’s mood even worse. Not to mention, he has not reached the state of cultivation where he would be impermeable to heat and cold. Being plump, he was exceptionally susceptible to perspiring, making him extremely irritable these days.
That day, Old Ma looked at the only customer in his tavern and felt displeased. Thus, he rudely exclaimed, “Hey! You still owe me a great debt. Yet, you still have the cheek to be eating and drinking for free here?”
Lu Chen chuckled as he gulped down alcohol from the cup in his hands. Then, leaning closer to the table, he smiled to Old Ma, “These days, the one who owes the debt is the true boss. Are you unaware of that?”
“Pi!” Old Ma spitted towards him. Then, using the towel in his hands to wipe away the sweat droplets from his forehead, he walked over to Lu Chen’s table and sat opposite to him. Taking a look at the glaring sun, he lamented, “Say, look at those working outside. What is the point of toiling the entire day from early in the morning to late at night! On the other hand, look at that Li Ji, how long has he only been here? Yet, he has already been accepted into the Thousand Autumn Doors. Sometimes, comparing one another can be extremely enraging.”
Lu Chen shook his head and said, “Aren’t you speaking nonsense? This is the only way for those who own nothing to cultivate.”
Tsk, Old Ma did not try to refute Lu Chen’s words. He simply shook his head and commented, “That fellow Li Ji truly is blessed with a good life.”
Lu Chen stared quietly into an unknown direction outside of the window. After a moment, he turned around to look at Old Ma, “That is simply a chance of fate, there is nothing special about it. Rather, about the matter of the inscription of the demonic cult, have you not found any clues?”
On those words, Old Ma scratched his head in frustration and smiled bitterly, “Indeed.”
Lu Chen harrumphed and said, “It is impossible for that picture to be carved there for no particular reason. Something must have happened in this village. Try to look deeper into it.”
Old Ma sighed, “It is not like you are unaware of it. I had privately looked through the entire village for multiple times, but I really couldn’t find any suspicious figures. It seems as though we have met with a spirit. Could it be that the remnants of the demonic cult were simply too carefree, running away right after carving a picture?”
Lu Chen remained silent. After awhile, he placed the wine cup onto the table and stood up, “I’ll be going back.”
By the bank of the clear stream, the green bamboos were still lush, although the peach blossoms had already withered, creating a rather lonely atmosphere. Under the intense glare of the sun, there were few people on the bluestone pavement.
Lu Chen walked along the stream. Just as he was about to cross the stone bridge, he noticed a familiar figure walking over from the opposite bank. She was Ding Dang.
Lu Chen stopped in his footsteps. From the other side, Ding Dang also caught sight of Lu Chen and astonishment covered her face. Then, with a smile, she greeted him, only that the smile appeared to be forced.
The two of them walked into shade under the green bamboos for a chat. Ding Dang looked a little restrained, but a smile emerged on her face again quickly. Facing Lu Chen, she said, “It has been a few days since we last met.”
Lu Chen inspected her and nodded his head, “Indeed, it has been a few days since I last met you. Where have you been?”
Ding Dang replied, “Nowhere. I don’t do well in the heat. I hate this kind of sweltering weather the most, so I haven’t been out recently.”
“Oh.” Lu Chen nodded his head in response. Then, silence washed through them.
After a moment, perhaps out of awkwardness, Ding Dang pursed her lips together and said, “That… the Spirit Stones that I owe you, you might have to wait a moment longer. I will return them to you as soon as possible.”
Lu Chen replied, “It doesn’t matter. I am not in urgent need of them.”
Ding Dang looked visibly relieved and her mood seemed to lift. She even stuck out her tongue for a moment before smiling, “Rest easy, I will not hold back on my debts. If I say that I will pay you back, I will make sure to do it. Furthermore, if an opportunity comes by, I will grant you a great encounter that would change your life.”
“A great encounter that would change my life?” Lu Chen slightly widened his eyes as he stared at Ding Dang.
Ding Dang chuckled and nodded her head vigorously. She was in high spirits, as though she held great authority in her hand, confident as though she was in control of others’ lives.
Deep in the night, by the foot of the tea mountain, the sweltering heat in the day had dispersed altogether and what replaced it was the cooling wind from the top of the mountain. The bizarre specter-like howling echoed throughout the mountain once more, creating the illusion of the ghosts suffering in hell, fear gripping one’s heart.
The straw cottage by the foot of the mountain stood isolated in the darkness, surrounded by the endless night.
It was totally silent within the straw cottage. The doors and windows were tightly shut. Even though the bizarre sounds managed to still seep in, it seemed like a mystical little world by itself. There was no one in the room and not even the slightest breathing sound could be heard in the darkness. However, in the blurred and fuzzy shadows, an overturned bed could be seen.
In the mysterious tree hollow, Lu Chen sat on the ground as he stared at the pool of emerald water nearby with a solemn expression.
A serious expression covered his entire face and his eyebrows were knitted together, as though he were deep in thought, caught in a dilemma between two decisions. His surroundings were peaceful and quiet. The gray aura surrounding the walls of this ancient tree undulated gently like tender waves.
After an unknown period, Lu Chen’s eyes opened suddenly. It was as though he had suddenly hardened his determination to make an ultimate decision.
Taking in a deep breath, a peculiar flash of black light flashed across his face. After a short moment, a faint light appeared from his lower abdomen. That is to say, the light was radiating from the dantian, as well as the most important asset of the cultivators, the spirit sea…
Dantian -> A point in the lower abdomen, commonly known to be where cultivators manipulate and store their energy.|Qihai -> Spirit sea
造化 (Zaohua) -> Opportunity/ Encounter
This is a word that is hard to word out in English.
Literally, it means the natural flow of events
In this chapter, it refers to an encounter(?) that would change one’s life. For example, Ding Dang promises him an opportunity for him to cultivate through enlightening him. Finding an incredible weapon/ heritage could he considered a 造化 (zaohua) as well.