Lu Chen stared at the lady before him. Under the morning rays, her snow-white skin and slightly flushed face made her look like the most beautiful peach blossom in the world. Enchanting and alluring, she exuded a charm that dazzled others.
After a short moment, he nodded his head, “Alright, I’ll bring you there.”
“Yay!” Ding Dang cheered as she tugged on Lu Chen’s sleeves happily. Her eyes twinkled with warmth as she smiled, “Thank you, I knew that you were a good person!”
Lu Chen smiled at her words and continued, “The Dragon Lake is on the west foothill behind the tea mountain. We will take at least four hours to get there. Do you want to make some preparations, or should we set off now?”
Ding Dang clenched her fists excitedly and anxiously, “Let’s set off now!”
The tea mountain wasn’t a towering mountain. Looking at it from the bottom, it looked ordinary. However, as the adage went, a horse who runs toward the mountain dies of exhaustion. The moment a person started walking up the mountains, the feeling turned completely different. That was especially so for Lu Chen and Ding Dang, who was in the midst of treading up the mountain. Given how they weren’t cultivators, making them no different from ordinary humans, it was difficult for them to walk up the mountainous paths.
Of the two, Lu Chen’s physical body was clearly much stronger than Ding Dang’s. On the way upward along the mountainous paths, his footsteps were light. Furthermore, as he was familiar with the roads on the tea mountain, he freely brought Ding Dang around the countless labyrinth-like intersections along the mountainous path.
On the other hand, although Ding Dang was spirited at the start, after an hour of walking, her face slowly paled and beads of perspiration rolled relentlessly down her face. Her breathing slowly deepened. Just by a look, it was clear to see that she had never done menial labor or ran long distances in her life.
After walking a little further, Lu Chen noticed that Ding Dang was about to collapse, so he stopped to grant her a moment of breather. Without a second word, Ding Dang found a rock by the path and sat limply on it while gasping for air.
Lu Chen shook his head and said, “How can you walk up the mountain in your state? Should we head back down?”
Although Ding Dang’s face was frighteningly pale, she remained persistent on this matter. She shook her head resolutely and said, “There’s no need for that. I will be fine after resting for a moment.”
Lu Chen shrugged.
After resting for around a tea break’s time, Ding Dang stood up and moved toward Lu Chen, who was sitting by her side and said “Let’s continue.”
Thus, the two of them continued to advance ahead. The mountainous wind blew and the tea trees cloaking the mountain rustled, creating a sight reminiscent of a green ocean.
Ding Dang’s stamina was mediocre. On the journey afterward, she would often be fatigued to the point of being unable to move after short distances. Lu Chen could only stop along with her so that she could rest to regain some strength. Due to the frequent stops, much time was wasted. Initially, going by Lu Chen’s estimations, he expected to reach the Dragon Lake within four hours. However, due to the unexpected delays, they only caught sight of the calm lake on the top of the mountain after half a day of effort.
Despite having so much time of his wasted, Lu Chen remained patient throughout the journey. From the start to the end, he never got frustrated at Ding Dang. On the other hand, Ding Dang felt embarrassed and apologised repeatedly to Lu Chen along the way, but Lu Chen simply responded with smiles.
Lu Chen was a little surprised that Ding Dang could persevere all the way to the Dragon Lake, and his opinion of her improved. When they are finally by the lake, he pointed to the calm water surface and said to her, “This is the Dragon Lake.”
Taking two steps forward, Ding Dang felt a cool mountainous breeze that carried some humidity caressing her face. She couldn’t resist taking a deep breath, and satisfaction, along with pleasure, appeared on her face.
She was about to proceed further ahead when Lu Chen suddenly pulled her from behind, startling her. She turned around and asked, “What?”
Lu Chen glanced at the Dragon Lake in the distance and said, “Don’t get too close to the lake.”
Ding Dang asked, “Why?”
Lu Chen replied, “I have heard someone say that there is a peculiar fish in the Dragon Lake. It is of massive size and something is off about it. It is possible that it could hurt someone.”
Ding Dang widened her eyes and asked, “Did you see it?”
Lu Chen shook his head and said, “I heard of it from someone. I came here a few times but have yet to see it.”
Ding Dang couldn’t resist chuckling, “Then, you still believe in the rumors?”
Lu Chen shrugged with a smile, “Who knows. Anyway, the scenery can be seen from afar as well. It would be best not to approach the lakeside.”
“Un.” Ding Dang nodded her head and looked at Lu Chen. “Lu Chen, thanks for bringing me up here. I will be fine alone from now on, you should return first.”
Lu Chen was taken aback. Bewildered, he asked, “What? Then how will you get down from here?”
Ding Dang waved her hands and smiled, “I am not a child. I can find my own way back. I would like some time to myself, so you should go back first.”
Lu Chen went silent for a moment. He looked up at the sky and said, “It is no longer early, so by the time you get down the mountain, it could already be night. It would be harder to find your way then, are you sure you can manage?”
Ding Dang hesitated for a moment, but her face was still determined. She nodded her head vigorously and said, “I will be fine, don’t worry. I just want to have a private moment here.”
Lu Chen stared at her for a moment and chose not to say anything about it. He simply nodded his head and replied, “Alright then, take care.” After which, he turned around to walk back down on the path he came from.
Ding Dang watched as his back gradually miniaturized and a complicated expression flashed across her face. It seemed to contain a tinge of warmth, gentleness and apology. However, she soon turned around and continued gazing at the tranquil lake.
Yet, at this moment, footsteps from her back were heard again. Ding Dang turned around and she was taken aback. Lu Chen had returned. He walked toward her with big strides and stuffed something into Ding Dang’s hands.
Ding Dang lowered her head to take a look; it was an ignitable paper roll. Then, she heard Lu Chen’s flat voice, “If it is dark by the time you walk down the mountain and you find yourself lost, find a few logs and light them up. Then, wave them in the direction towards the foot of the mountain. If you’re lucky, I might come and fetch you if I happen to catch sight of it. However, if I have forgotten about it or if I have already slept, then you can only blame yourself for your ill-luck.”
Ding Dang gently closed her fingers and grabbed the ignitable paper roll in her palm. Then, she lifted her gaze and stared at Lu Chen as emotions rippled in her eyes. After a short moment, she flashed a charming smile and nodded her head, “Alright!”
Lu Chen chuckled and turned around to leave. This time, he did not turn back. It didn’t take him long to disappear into the distance.
Ding Dang stared at the back of that man as it slowly faded. Her eyes twinkled, and it was hard to tell what thoughts were lingering in her mind right now.
…a horse who runs towards the mountain dies of exhaustion. (看山跑死马)
The saying comes from the idea that the mountain is huge, so even though it is in sight, if you try to approach it, you will realise that it is still a far distant away.
It means that even though something may seem easy, it is actually difficult to carry out.
Really looking for an editor :X I like my work to be on standard, but recently I’m finding myself at a loss on trying to translate some imagery/phrases. It’s like on the tip of the tongue but due to my low level of cultivation, I’m unable to extract it >: