Just when everyone was gripped by astonishment by the bizarre encounter, someone suddenly exclaimed and pointed to a certain direction in the sky. Indeed, a small black dot could be seen in the sky and it was descending rapidly. Soon, a human figure could vaguely be made out from it.
A commotion broke out as shouts of exclamation drowned the crowd. At the entrance of the small tavern, Old Ma and Lu Chen’s faces darkened.
Old Ma muttered, “Cultivator?”
Lu Chen paused for a moment before nodding his head and replying softly, “Seems to be it. He fell down in the middle of his flight.”
Old Ma gritted his teeth as his face turned cold. As known among the cultivators, only those who had at least attained a minor achievement in the foundation stage is capable of flight and cultivators in foundation stage could already be considered a top-tier power in a cultivator sect such as the Thousand Autumn Doors.
Staring at the black shadow descending from the sky and at an increasing speed, screams of panic could be heard from afar. The direction of descent seemed to be toward the village. For a short moment, a commotion broke out among the crowd as everyone rushed to retreat as far away as possible from the falling black shadow.
It didn’t take long for the black shadow to fall to the ground. In the midst of innumerable exclamations by the crowds, peng, along with a deafening sound, the figure crashed into a dwelling, creating a giant hole in the roof. At that moment, the ground could be felt to have quivered slightly and a flurry of dust whipped up.
The sight was so wretched that from just watching, the crowd couldn’t help but feel goosebumps rise up from their skins, and a cold chill even under such sweltering weather.
A short moment later, the crowds started to gather closer to the dwelling. Lu Chen and Old Ma were also part of this crowd.
At this point in time, the unlucky owner of the dwelling was standing outside his hut, dumbfounded by the sight. He seemed to be on the verge of tears. As he pried open the doors of the hut, everyone caught sight of the fallen human figure.
He seemed to be an elderly in his fifties, and he was lying on the ground limply. Blood was flowing from his seven apertures and he seemed to have breathed his last. The broken bones in his body were too much to count and the sight of his body was truly horrifying.
The faint-hearted had already retreated out of fear whereas those who were more daring paled from the appalling sight. There were even people who started dry heaving.
At this moment, someone pointed to the corpse and exclaimed in shock, “That… that person’s clothes, he is an elder from Thousand Autumn Doors!”
The crowd was astonished. Turning around to take a look, they noticed that his clothes bore a certain level of resemblance. A commotion broke out instantly and the crowd retreated hurriedly from the hut.
Old Ma and Lu Chen retreated along with the crowd and walked to the very back of it. Old Ma surveyed the surroundings, and after confirming that there was no one around, he muttered softly, “It is Elder Xu Yunhe from Thousand Autumn Doors.”
Lu Chen’s eyebrows lifted slightly. He glanced at Old Ma, opened his mouth but closed it before saying anything.
Noticing his bizarre expression, Old Ma frowned, “Why?”
Lu Chen was silent for a moment before speaking flatly, “He was already dead when he was falling from the skies. The fatal wound is a blow on his chest. The robe covering his right shoulder is torn and although there is bloodstain concealing it, a metal token stabbed into him right there. If I am not wrong, there is an inscription of a giant tree on it.”
At this point, he paused for a moment. Old Ma’s face darkened slightly. Lu Chen quietly stared at Old Ma before continuing, “It is the doing of the Three Realm Divine Cult. It is probably vengeance for the incident a few days prior.”
Old Ma gritted his teeth. Suddenly spitting toward the ground, he muttered furiously, “That bunch of lunatics!”
Clear Stream Village was a village by the vicinity of Nansong Mountain, and it was considered under the Thousand Autumn Doors’ sphere of influence. That was the reason why the clothes on the corpse were recognised by the villagers so quickly. Half a day later, a large group of Thousand Autumn Doors cultivators descended upon Clear Stream Village.
The tranquility of the previous days was completely absent. Even so, the village wasn’t in a ruckus at this moment. The reason for it was simple. Under the stern faces of the cultivators of Thousand Autumn Doors, the atmosphere in Clear Stream Village was deathly cold.
There were disciples of Thousand Autumn Doors guarding the front and back of the village and the villagers were completely silent, reminiscent of cicadas during winter, without he courage to even breath audibly. A large group of Thousand Autumn Doors cultivators were gathered around the corpse, and each of them seemed to possess high standing within the sect. From time to time, there would be people walking over from there to summon a few villagers for interrogation.
At this point in time, Old Ma had finally put on a shirt and the unrefined image of him with his top bare had disappeared. Standing along with Lu Chen in the distance, they stared in the direction of the hut.
After taking a look at the commotion, Lu Chen prodded Old Ma and whispered, “This time, the Thousand Autumn Doors must be incensed!”
Old Ma shrugged and replied, “Of course. Xu Yunhe’s level of cultivation was at foundation realm pinnacle. He was one of the two highest cultivated member of the sect, with the other being the sect leader. The demonic cult was really ruthless this time round, destroying at least thirty percent of the Thousand Autumn Doors’ strength with a single blow.”
Lu Chen shook his head expressionlessly. Old Ma glanced at him, and said with a suppressed voice, “It is rare to see the demonic cult making such a big ruckus.”
Lu Chen frowned and contemplated over his words for a moment. After a short while, he replied softly, “Perhaps, could the carving beneath the tree be related to this matter?”
Old Ma pondered for a moment before nodding his head, “That should be it. But this is good in its own way as well, at least they aren’t coming for you.”
Lu Chen lifted his gaze and stared into the distance, only to see a few villagers being brought out by the disciples of Thousand Autumn Doors. After which, they no longer brought any villagers in for questioning, maybe because all of the answers were repetitive and there was nothing else they could get out of them.
However, at this moment, Lu Chen suddenly looked in a specific direction. Yi, he muttered subconsciously and he stared at a specific spot in the crowd.
Old Ma traced his line of sight and after a moment, his face froze as well. Outside the hut, among the seven to eight Thousand Autumn Doors disciples, there was a dashing young man whom he recognised as Li Ji.
After numerous days of absence, nothing about the extraordinarily talented and lucky young man had changed; he was the same, dashing and carefree. Even when standing among his fellow peers, he looked outstanding as usual.
Upon seeing Li Ji, the surrounding villagers exclaimed in shock. It was apparent that they were quite envious of him. There were even a few young girls who stared at him with glowing eyes by the side. It felt as though they would melt away in an instance if Li Ji were to turn around and glance at them.
Old Ma shook his head and chuckled to Lu Chen, “A good skin. I am envious.”
Lu Chen didn’t reply to his comment and continued staring in the direction for a further moment. Then, as he moved his gaze away, he caught sight of Ding Dang standing in a remote corner behind the crowds. She was beneath a peach blossom tree, staring at Li Ji from afar. Her eyes were bright and her face seemed to glow. She looked exceptionally beautiful.
Alright, to clarify the terms that I have been putting off so long
筑基境 zhu ji jing (Foundation realm/stage)
-> Exactly as it sounds, it probably means like the preparation you need to do to truly cultivate (though one is already considered a cultivator by this point). Simply put it, the entrance to a larger world, the foundation of a castle.
小成/大成 xiao cheng/ da cheng (Minor achievement/ major achievement)
-> I dislike these two words because they are difficult to translate
Edit: The suggestions given to me for it are Minor/Major Completion/Achievement/Mastery. I will go with Achievement
(Thanks to the Discord bros again :P)
仙长/长老 xian zhang/ zhang lao (Elder)
-> The former refers to an elder of a cultivator sect whereas the latter just means an elder (which in this case, is still applied to an elder of a cultivator sect)
Alright, similar to what I have said in LoHP, if there are some grammar mistakes that I keep committing repetitively (like will would can could), feel free to correct me.