On his way to the tavern, Lu Chen stopped as he passed by the large Chinese scholar tree. He first glanced at the tree root before walking over to the giant rock with a smile. Facing the old fisherman who was seated on it, fishing, he asks, “Old Yu, how’s the fishing going today?”
Old Yu’s hat rotated from one side to the other as the person in question remained silent.
As one who had foreseen such an outcome, Lu Chen smiled even more brightly. He squatted next to Old Yu and said, “I say, Old Yu, persisting on like that here isn’t a solution.”
Not saying a word, the old fisherman glanced at him doltishly. Ignoring him, Lu Chen continued speaking with a bright smile, “Why don’t we change a location to fish?”
Old Yu frowned, “Where?”
Lu Chen pointed to the mountain in the distance and said, “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 shook his head blankly, “The mountain is too high up. Besides, why would there be any fish on top of a mountain?”
Lu Chen chuckled. Just as he was about to continue persuading him, he suddenly noticed a twinkle by his peripheral vision, and all of a sudden, the fishing rod floating in the water shook violently.
At that instant, Lu Chen and Old Yu was flabbergasted. After such a long period of time, everyone had already gotten 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 bounced upwards. They fumbled about in a fluster, shouting here and there as they hurriedly pulled up the fishing pole. A short moment later, the fishing line was pulled in and the two of them immediately glanced at the end of the rod, only to see an ordinary fish of about a palm’s size hanging there.
It was 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 stared at one another. After a moment, Old Yu sat down once again doltishly while Lu Chen shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the fish to unhook it. At the same time, he said, “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 trailed off. When his hand grabbed the fish, whose mouth was impaled by the fish hook and was struggling furiously but to no avail, suddenly, a bizarre aura carrying a wisp of cold desolate intent appeared from nowhere, and seeped into his meridians.
Almost at the same moment, Lu Chen felt a jolt in the dantian spirit sea within his body. His Five Elemental Divine Compass appeared suddenly and flipped over. Black aura surged in all directions. As though the howl of demons, the darkness roared and an incomparably dense congregation of darkness shrouded over everything.
Dantian -> Focus point in the abdomen where spirit energy is stored/ manipulated| Qihai -> Spirit sea
A dull thump echoing by his side, Old Yu turned 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 flopped a few times on the floor before losing its strength rapidly and passing away.
Old Yu frowned and looked at Lu Chen. “It is not like this fish could be eaten. There is no point to killing it, so why not release it instead?”
After which, he turned back and placed a new bait onto the hook before casting his rod to continue fishing.
Lu Chen stood quietly at the back of the old fisherman. For a very long time, he remained quiet. After a long while, when even Old Yu became slightly puzzled by his behavior, Lu Chen’s voice, deep and slow, sounded behind him, “You are right. I have overdid it.”
Old Yu found the situation queer. Turning around to look at Lu Chen, there was nothing off about his expression. Calm as usual, and there did not seem to be anything wrong about him. Thus, lazy to bother about him, Old Yu’s attention returned back to the surface of the water.
Lu Chen continued to stand there for a period of time before eventually turning around to leave. He didn’t continue walking inward, toward the center of the village, even though Old Ma’s small tavern wasn’t too far away. Instead, he changed direction and headed toward the tea mountain once more, back to the straw cottage at the foot of the mountain.
Before walking into his cottage, he took a look upward toward the tea mountain. There wasn’t a single human figure that could be seen on the serene peak of the mountain. It was hard to tell where Ding Dang was at that instant. Perhaps, she might be trudging along a certain part of the mountainous path.
Returning back to his straw cottage, Lu Chen sat on the bed without making a single sound. Then, with a lowered head, he fell into contemplation. Bit by bit, he recalled what happened earlier, every single aspect and portion of it, even every single motion and sensation; he did not allow any of it to escape him
His expression gradually grew cold, as his gaze brightened and sharpened. He seemed to have vaguely guessed something. After a moment, he stood up abruptly and walked toward the door. At the same time, on his right hand which was hanging by the side of his body, his fingers opened up slightly. A black dagger silently slid from his sleeve into his hand.
The sun outside the cottage was radiant and the sky was clear. He looked at the surroundings through squinted eyes. After musing for a short moment, he started heading towards the tea mountain.
The mountain was extremely tranquil. With the exception of the rustling of the tea trees due to the mountainous winds, rarely could other sounds be heard. Occasionally, the chirping of birds could be heard from the woods in the distant. The tea mountain wasn’t a towering and vast mountain, but there were quite some wildlife on it. Just that, many years ago, the ground of the front of the mountains had been cultivated by humans to grow tea trees. As a result, many birds and beasts had migrated from the region toward the peak or the back of the mountain to avoid the humans.
The blade of the black dagger Lu Chen held in his hand was dull, it being impossible for even a sliver of light to reflect from it, its radiance concealed deep within it. Yet, its edge was exceptionally thin. His hand was steady and peaceful, but for some reason, the dagger seemed to be trembling in agitation. It wasn’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 seemed to be craving for something.
The man’s gaze scanned the surrounding as he proceeded forwardly slowly. Unknowingly, indifference filled his face.
When he reached the halfway mark of the mountain, the forest had gradually grew silent. However, at that altitude, chirping from the surrounding birds crescendoed. On the branches of some high-rising trees, the shadows of squirrels could be seen.
Suddenly, the grass in front shook and a gray-colored head popped out. It was a gray rabbit that could be frequently spotted in the wilderness here. Its mouth vibrated non-stop, as though it was chewing on something. At the same moment, it surveyed its surroundings warily.
Then, it spotted Lu Chen standing on the mountainous path not too far away.
That was a gentle man with a calm expression. For an instant, a trace of a tender smile seemed to be hanging on the edge of his lips. Clearly, the wisp of cold desolate aura that seemed to hang on him a moment ago had disappeared without a trace.