Seeing Old Ma open his mouth only to close it hesitantly, Lu Chen raises his eyebrows slightly, “What’s wrong?”
Old Ma smiles bitterly, “This matter is a little… Based on the rumors, the day that Old Ma went missing, quite a few people on the road outside the Immortal City heard his exclaim concurrently. What Old Liu shouted wasn’t curses directed at the demonic cult, but Hall Master Xue’s name.”
Lu Chen’s expression warps slightly as he says with a suppressed voice, “Blood Warbler?”
Old Ma nods his head, “Yes. The atmosphere in the Immortal Alliance seems to be a little tense, and the Fleeting Cloud Division is in chaos at the moment. As for Hall Master Xue, it is said that she has been isolated in her own quarters for numerous days already.”
Lu Chen ponders for a moment before shaking his head, “Xue Ying’s temper may not be good, but it is unlikely for her to be a spy of the demonic cult.”
Old Ma is slightly surprised. Gazing at Lu Chen, he asks, “I remember that you had barely met with her, how can you be so sure of it?”
Lu Chen replies blandly, “Ten years ago, she participated in the battle of the barren valley as well.”
Old Ma doesn’t respond to his words. After a moment, he nods his head, and goes quiet.
The situation in the Immortal City changes rapidly as the shadows start to move. Treacherous and dangerous, definitely, but too far away, it doesn’t seem to have the slightest impact on the small village thousands of miles away.
The residents of Clear Stream Village continues on with their peaceful life. Most of them are still striving hard for the fleeting dreams in their hearts.
On the sixth day of the eighth month, when Lu Chen is walking down the mountain as he always does, he meets Ding Dang, who is walking up the mountain, yet again. Different from the previous few encounters they had, Lu Chen can tell with a single glance that Ding Dang seems a little out of it today. Her features are still as beautiful as always, but her complexion looks slightly haggard. She is no longer spirited, and in its place is worry. In fact, when Lu Chen passes her by, with her head slightly lowered, she doesn’t even notice him.
For some reason, Lu Chen doesn’t stop her. Instead, he stares silently at the back of the lady as her lonely figure trudges up the mountain, towards the Dragon Lake faraway at the top of the mountain.
Is this a gamble?
Is the stake her entire life?
The back figure of the one disappearing into the distance looks exceptionally fragile and forlorn. When she disappears behind the mountainous forests, Lu Chen quietly turns around and heads towards the village. However, for some reason, until he reaches the small tavern, that slightly forlorn silhouette continues to twirl around his mind. For some reason, he is unable to shake off a bizarre feeling of unease.
Seeing Lu Chen, Old Ma hurriedly walks over. Agitation can be seen on his face as he closes the door and pulls Lu Chen over to the seats.
Lu Chen frowns as he looks at the nervous fatty, “What’s wrong?”
Old Ma takes in a deep breath. Then, with a suppressed voice, he says, “There’s something amiss with the situation.”
A gleam flashes across the depths of Lu Chen’s eyes as he says, “Speak.”
Old Ma says, “I have just received news that these few days, three of the Shadows under the Fleeting Cloud Division had been killed.” Raising his head, he looks at Lu Chen. With a hoarse and suppressed voice, he continues, “Among the dead, one is a Shadow Zhang Jiu Ping was responsible for whereas the other two are people whom Old Liu came into contact with a few years ago.”
Lu Chen goes silent. Sitting by the table, he doesn’t say a word. Old Ma looks at him and continues softly, “We can’t confirm by the news itself that it is the doing of the Three Realm Divine Cult at this point, but…”
“It’s them. They would rather kill the innocent than to allow their target to escape.” Lu Chen suddenly interjects.
Old Ma finds himself unable for breathe for a moment. Then, gritting his teeth, he says, “If that’s the case, we can’t simply wait for our turn. I will…”
Before he can finish his words, his voice suddenly trails off, as though he has suddenly thought of something. At the same moment, Lu Chen shakes his head lightly and says, “There is something queer going on with the Fleeting Cloud Division. If there isn’t a traitor within, it means that their actions are closely surveyed. So, we can’t approach them.”
Old Ma nods his head slowly as calmness gradually returns to his face. Knitting his eyebrows for a moment, he replies, “You’re right. I will arrange make arrangements, so let’s leave here.”
Lu Chen asks, “How long?”
Old Ma replies, “Three days… At minimum, two days!”
Lu Chen ponders for a moment before saying, “If we were to suddenly disappear, it would mean that something suspicious is going on here. Perhaps, we might even attract the attention the demonic cult. I am just a forlorn fugitive, but what about you?”
Old Ma harrumphs, “I am also fine with it. After all, didn’t I survive the last few years? Besides, there aren’t many in the Immortal Alliance who are aware of my background. At most, it only numbers at two.”
Lu Chen looks at him and asks, “Who?”
Old Ma replies, “Tianlan Zhenjun and Hall Master Xue.”
Lu Chen nods his head and stands up, “Then, it would be best for you to start making arrangements.”
Old Ma replies, “Alright.”
Walking out of the tavern, the weather outside is clear and sweltering, just as before. The peaceful little village under the rays of the sun seems exceptionally peaceful and calm. Lu Chen surveys the surroundings and some emotions well up in him. He had lived here for ten years, and he remembers every single blade of grass and log of wood here. Even though the residents here can’t be considered as kind souls and he is barely acquainted with them, he still feels a tinge of warmth from this village, unexpectedly.
However, he quickly sweeps aside his emotion and heads for the straw cottage. There are also items that he has to pack in that lonely cottage by the foot of the mountain.
When he passes by the large chinese scholar tree, Lu Chen’s footsteps halts for a moment. He looks at the old fisherman who is busy fishing and smiles. Eventually, deciding against saying anything, he walks by him.
Cicadas shriek behind his back with all their might, seemingly frenziedly resisting this sweltering weather with all their might.
Walking on the mountainous path, Lu Chen takes a look at the tea mountain. For many years, the only one who has been closer to him is probably only that lady.
It is a pity that she has placed her bets on another.
However, this is fine as well. No matter what, the other party has more of a future than him.
The edges of his lips curl up into a bitter smile. The next instant, his smile suddenly freezes. That is because, in the faraway peak of the tea mountain, he sees flame flashing across. After the flame waves about for a moment, it disappears swiftly.
Is that… a fire torch in the day?
Since it is a gamble, one has to bear the consequences of it by oneself.
Lu Chen walks into the straw cottage and starts to pack his items. Just that, walking to and fro the straw cottage, he picks up some items only to put them down after awhile. Soon, he sits down by the bed and sighs, realising that he really has no attachments.
He sits quietly for a moment and confusion unwittingly appears in his calm gaze, but it disappears soon. After a moment, he suddenly stands up, opens the door and starts treading up the tea mountain.
The spirit tea trees that filled the mountain sway along with the wind and the green leaves are filled with liveliness. It seems as though this season of flourishing summer isn’t frightened off by the scorching sun.