As Lu Chen walks towards the tavern, he stops when he passes by that large chinese scholar tree. He first glances at the tree root before walking over to the giant rock with a smile. Facing the old fisherman who is sitting on it, fishing, he asks, “Old Yu, how’s the fishing going today?”
Old Yu’s hat rotates from one side to the other as the person in question remains silent.
As one who had foreseen such an outcome, Lu Chen smiles even more brightly. He squats next to Old Yu and says, “I say, Old Yu, persisting on like that here isn’t a solution.”
Not saying a word, the old fisherman glances at him doltishly. Ignoring him, Lu Chen continues speaking with a bright smile, “Why don’t we change a location to fish?”
Old Yu frowns, “Where?”
Lu Chen points to the mountain in the distance and says, “The Dragon Lake on top of the mountain. It rains often there and the water is deep. Perhaps, you might find the large fish that you are seeking there.”
Old Yu shakes his head blankly, “The mountain is too high up. Besides, why would there be any fish on top of a mountain?”
Lu Chen chuckles. Just as he is about to continue persuading him, he suddenly notices a twinkle by his peripheral vision, and the fishing rod floating in the water suddenly shakes violently.
At this instant, Lu Chen and Old Yu is flabbergasted. After such a long period of time, everyone is already used to the feeling of being unable to fish anything from this stream. Is this going to change today?
A split moment later, Old Yu and Lu Chen bounces upwards. They fumble about in a fluster, shouting here and there as they hurriedly pull up the fishing pole. A short moment later, the fishing line is pulled in and the two of them immediately glances at the end of the rod, only to see an ordinary fish of about a palm’s size hanging there.
It is slightly larger than the gray-colored fishes in the stream, sufficiently large to bite on the bait, but insufficiently so to be considered a large fish.
The two stare at one another. After a moment, Old Yu sits down once again doltishly while Lu Chen shrugs his shoulder and grabs the fish to unhook it. At the same time, he says, “Alright, even if these kind of fishes are rare, perhaps, there might be a chance in the future…”
Halfway through his words, Lu Chen’s voice suddenly trails off. When his hand grabs the fish, whose body was stabbed by the fish hook and is struggling furiously but to no avail, suddenly, a bizarre aura carrying a wisp of cold desolate intent appears from nowhere, and seeps into his meridians.
Almost at the same moment, Lu Chen feels a jolt in the dantian qihai within his body. His Five Elemental Divine Compass suddenly appears and flips over. Black aura surges towards all direction. As though the demons are howling, the darkness is roaring, an incomparably dense congregation of darkness shrouds over everything.
Dantian -> An acupoint| Qihai -> Spirit sea
A dull thump echoing by his side, Old Yu turns around to take a look, only to see the small fish falling heavily onto the floor from Lu Chen’s hands. The fish hook had slipped out from the fish’s mouth but curiously, the hook had lodged itself onto the fish’s body, piercing through the abdomen of the small fish.
The small fish flops a few times on the floor before losing its strength rapidly and passes away.
Old Yu frowns and looks at Lu Chen, “It is not like this fish could be eaten. There is no point to killing it, so why kill not release it instead?”
After which, he turns back and places a new bait onto the hook before throwing it in an arc to continue fishing.
Lu Chen stands quietly at the back of the old fisherman. For a very long time, he remains quiet. After a significant period of time, when even Old Yu is slightly puzzled by his behavior, Lu Chen’s voice, deep and slow, sounds behind him, “You are right. I have overdid it.”
Old Yu finds the situation queer. Turning around to look at Lu Chen, there’s nothing off about his expression. Calm as usual, and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong about him. Thus, lazy to bother about him, Old Yu’s attention returns back to the surface of the water.
Lu Chen continues standing there for a period of time before up turning around to leave. He doesn’t continue walking inwards, towards the center of the village, even though Old Ma’s small tavern isn’t too far away. Instead, he changes directions and heads towards the tea mountain once more, back to the straw cottage at the foot of the mountain.
Before walking into his cottage, he takes a look upwards toward the tea mountain. There isn’t a single human figure that can be seen on the serene peak of the mountain. It is hard to tell where Ding Dang is at this instant. Perhaps, she might be trudging along a certain part of the mountainous path.
Returning back to his straw cottage, Lu Chen sits on the bed without making a single sound. Then, with a lowered head, he falls into contemplation. Bit by bit, he recalls what happened earlier, every single aspect and portion of it, even every single motion and sensation, he doesn’t allow any of it to escape him
His expression gradually grows cold, as his gaze brightens and sharpens. He seems to have vaguely guessed something. After a moment, he suddenly stands up and walks towards the door. At the same time, on his right hand which is hanging by the side of his body, the fingers open up slightly. The next instant, a black dagger silently slides from his sleeve into his hand.
The sun outside the cottage is radiant and the sky is clear. He looks at the surroundings through squinted eyes. After musing for a short moment, he starts heading towards the tea mountain.
The mountain is extremely tranquil. With the exception of the rustling of the tea trees due to the mountainous winds, rarely can other sounds be heard. Occasionally, the chirping of the bird could be heard from the woods in the distant. The tea mountain isn’t a towering and vast mountain, but there are quite a few wildlife on it. Just that, many years ago, the ground of the front of the mountains had been cultivated by the humans to grow tea trees. As a result, many birds and beasts had migrated from this region towards the peak or the back of the mountain to avoid the humans.
The blade of the black dagger Lu Chen holds in his hand is dull blade, as though it is impossible for even a sliver of light to reflect from it, its radiance concealed deep within it. Yet, its edge is exceptionally thin. His hand is steady and peaceful, but for some reason, the dagger seems to be trembling in agitation. It isn’t out of fear, but out of a long-awaited reunion, the kind of agitation derived from long years of mutual absence.
Even the dagger itself seems to be craving for something.
The man’s gaze scans the surrounding as he proceeds forwardly slowly. Unknowingly, indifference fills his face.
When he is around the halfway mark of the mountain, the forest gradually grows silent. However, at this altitude, the chirping from the birds in the surroundings crescendos. On the branches of some high-rising trees, the shadows of squirrels can be seen.
Suddenly, the grass in front shakes and a gray-colored head pops out. It is a gray rabbit that can be frequently spotted in the wilderness here. Its mouth quivers non-stop, as though it is chewing on something. At the same moment, it surveys its surroundings warily.
Then, it spots Lu Chen standing on the mountainous path not too far away.
That is a gentle man with a calm expression. For an instant, a trace of a tender smile seems to be hanging on the edges of his lips. Clearly, the wisp of cold desolate aura that seemed to appear on him a moment ago has disappeared without a trace.