Just when everyone is gripped by astonishment by the bizarre encounter, someone suddenly exclaims and points to a certain direction in the sky. Indeed, a small black dot could be seen in the sky and it is descending rapidly. Soon, a human figure can vaguely be made out from it.
A commotion breaks out as shouts of exclamation tides over the crowd. At the entrance of the small tavern, Old Ma and Lu Chen’s faces darken.
Old Ma mutters, “Cultivator?”
Lu Chen pauses 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 grits his teeth as his face turns 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 can already be considered a top-tier power in a cultivator sect such as the Thousand Autumn Doors.
Staring at the black shadow descend from the sky and an increasing speed, panicked screaming can be heard from afar. The direction of descend seems to be towards the village. For a short moment, a commotion breaks out among the crowd as everyone rushes to retreat as far away as possble from the falling black shadow.
It didn’t take long for the black shadow to fall to the ground. In the midst of innumerable exclaims by the crowds, peng, along with a deafening sound, the figure crashes into a dwelling, creating a giant hole in the roof. At that moment, it feels as though the ground has quivered slightly and a flurry of dust whips up.
The sight is so tragic that despite the crowds are only looking at that sight, they can’t help but feel goosebumps rise up from their skins and a cold chill even under such a sweltering weather.
A short moment later, the crowds start to gather up to the dwelling. Lu Chen and Old Ma are also part of the crowd.
At this moment, the unlucky owner of the dwelling is standing outside his hut, dumbfounded by the sight. He seems to be on the verge of tears. Very soon, prying open the doors of the hut, everyone catches sight of the fallen human figure.
He seems to be an elderly in his fifties. At this moment, he is lying on the ground limply. Blood is flowing down from his seven apertures and he seems to have breathed his last. The broken bones on his body are too much to count and the sight of his body is truly horrifying.
The faint-hearted ones had already retreated out of fear whereas those who are more daring pales from the appalling sight. There are even people who started dry heaving.
At this moment, someone points to the corpse and exclaims in shock, “That… that person’s clothes, he is an elder from Thousand Autumn Doors!”
The crowd is astonished. Turning around to take a look, they notice that his clothes bear a certain level of resemblance to it. A commotion breaks out instantly and the crowd hurriedly retreats from the hut.
Old Ma and Lu Chen retreats along with the crowd and walk to the very back of it. Old Ma surveys the surroundings, and after confirming that there is no one around, he mutters softly, “It is Elder Xu Yunhe from Thousand Autumn Doors.”
Lu Chen’s eyebrows lift slightly. He glances at Old Ma, opens his mouth but closes it before saying anything.
Noticing his bizarre expression, Old Ma frowns, “Why?”
Lu Chen is 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, there is a metal token stabbed into him there. If I am not wrong, there is an inscription of a giant tree on it.”
At this point, he pauses for a moment. Old Ma’s face darkens slightly. Lu Chen quietly stares 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 grits his teeth. Suddenly spitting towards the ground, he mutters furiously, “That bunch of lunatics!”
Clear Stream Village is a village by the vicinity of Nansong Mountain, and it is considered as a part of the Thousand Autumn Doors’ sphere of influence. This is 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 previous days is completely absent. Even so, the village isn’t in a ruckus at this moment. The reason for it is simple. Under the stern faces of the cultivators of Thousand Autumn Doors, the atmosphere in Clear Stream Village is deathly cold.
There are disciples of Thousand Autumn Doors guarding the front and back of the village and the villagers are completely silent, reminiscent of cicadas in the winter, not even daring to breath loudly. A large group of Thousand Autumn Doors cultivators are gathered around the corpse, and each of them seem 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 moment, Old Ma has finally put on a shirt and the unrefined image of him with his top bare disappears. Standing along with Lu Chen in the distance, they stare in the direction of the hut.
After taking a look at the commotion, Lu Chen prods Old Ma and whispers, “This time, the Thousand Autumn Doors must be incensed!”
Old Ma shrugs and replies, “Of course. Xu Yunhe’s level of cultivation is at foundation realm pinnacle. He is one of the two highest cultivated member of the sect, with the other being the sect leader. The demonic cult is really ruthless this time, destroying at least thirty percent of the Thousand Autumn Doors’ strength with a single blow this time.”
Lu Chen shakes his head expressionlessly. Old Ma glances at him, and says with a suppressed voice, “It is rare to see the demonic cult making such a big ruckus.”
Lu Chen frowns and contemplates over his words for a moment. After a short while, he replies softly, “Perhaps, the carving beneath the tree is with regards to this matter?”
Old Ma ponders 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 lifts his gaze and stares 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, perhaps because all of the answers were repetitive and there is nothing else they can get out of them.
However, at this moment, Lu Chen suddenly stares at a specific direction. Yi, he mutters subconsciously and he stares at a specific spot among the crowd.
Old Ma traces his line of sight and after a moment, his face freezes as well. Outside the hut, among the seven to eight Thousand Autumn Doors disciples, there is a dashing young man whom he recognises as Li Ji.
After numerous days of absence, this extraordinarily talented and lucky young man still seems the same, dashing and carefree. Even when standing among his fellow peers, he is still looks equally outstanding.
Upon seeing Li Ji, the surrounding villagers exclaim in shock. It is apparent that they are quite envious of him. There are even a few young girls who stare at him with glowing eyes by the side. It feels as though they would melt in an instant if Li Ji were to turn around and glance at them.
Old Ma shakes his head and chuckles to Lu Chen, “A good skin. I am envious.”
Lu Chen doesn’t reply to his comment and continues staring in that direction for a moment. Then, as he moves his gaze away, he catches sight of Ding Dang standing in a remote corner behind the crowds. She is standing beneath a peach blossom tree, staring at Li Ji from afar. Her eyes are bright and her face seems to glowing. She looks 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.