Seeing Old Ma open his mouth only to close it hesitantly, Lu Chen raised his eyebrows slightly, “What’s wrong?”
Old Ma smiled 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 warped slightly as he said with a suppressed voice, “Blood Warbler?”
Old Ma nodded 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 pondered 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 was slightly surprised. Gazing at Lu Chen, he asked, “I remember that you had barely met with her, how can you be so sure of it?”
Lu Chen replied blandly, “Ten years ago, she participated in the battle of the barren valley as well.”
Old Ma didn’t respond to his words. After a moment, he nodded his head and went quiet.
The situation in the Immortal City changed rapidly as the shadows started to move. Treacherous and dangerous, definitely, but too far away, so it didn’t seem to have the slightest impact on the small village thousands of miles away.
The residents of Clear Stream Village continued on with their peaceful life. Most of them were still striving hard for the fleeting dreams in their hearts.
On the sixth day of the eighth month, when Lu Chen was walking down the mountain as he always did, he met Ding Dang, who was walking up the mountain, yet again. Different from the previous few encounters they had, Lu Chen could tell with a single glance that Ding Dang seemed a little out of it today. Her features were as beautiful as always, but her complexion looked slightly haggard. She was no longer spirited, and in its place was worry. In fact, when Lu Chen passed by her, with her head slightly lowered, she didn’t even notice him.
For some reason, Lu Chen did not stop her. Instead, he stared silently at the back of the lady as her lonely figure trudged up the mountain, toward the Dragon Lake faraway on the top of the mountain.
Could this be a gamble?
Could the stake be her entire life?
The back figure of the one disappearing into the distance looked exceptionally fragile and forlorn. When she disappeared behind the mountainous forests, Lu Chen quietly turned around and headed toward the village. However, for some reason, until he reached the small tavern, that slightly forlorn silhouette continued to twirl around his mind. For some reason, he was unable to shake off a weird feeling of unease.
Seeing Lu Chen, Old Ma hurriedly walked over. Agitation could be seen on his face as he closed the door and pulled Lu Chen over to the seats.
Lu Chen frowned as he looked at the nervous fatty, “What’s wrong?”
Old Ma took in a deep breath. Then, with a suppressed voice, he said, “There’s something amiss with the situation.”
A gleam flashed across the depths of Lu Chen’s eyes as he said, “Speak.”
Old Ma said, “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 looked at Lu Chen. With a hoarse and suppressed voice, he continued, “Among the dead, one was a Shadow Zhang Jiu Ping was responsible for whereas the other two were people whom Old Liu came into contact with a few years ago.”
Lu Chen went silent. Sitting by the table, he didn’t say a word. Old Ma looked at him and continued 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 interjected.
Old Ma found himself unable for breathe for a moment. Then, gritting his teeth, he said, “If that’s the case, we can’t simply wait for our turn. I will…”
Before he could finish his words, his voice trailed off abruptly, as though he had suddenly thought of something. At the same moment, Lu Chen shook his head lightly and spoke, “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 nodded his head slowly as calmness gradually returned to his face. Knitting his eyebrows for a moment, he replied, “You’re right. I will arrange make arrangements, so let’s leave here.”
Lu Chen asked, “How long will you take?”
Old Ma replied, “Three days… At minimum, two days!”
Lu Chen pondered 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 of the demonic cult. I am just a forlorn fugitive, but what about you?”
Old Ma harrumphed, “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 the very most, there are only two.”
Lu Chen looked at him and asked, “Who?”
Old Ma replied, “Tianlan Zhenjun and Hall Master Xue.”
Lu Chen nodded his head and stood up, “Then, it would be best for you to start making arrangements.”
Old Ma replied, “Alright.”
Walking out of the tavern, the weather outside was clear and sweltering, just as before. The little village under the rays of the sun seemed exceptionally peaceful and calm. Lu Chen surveyed the surroundings and emotions welled up in him. He had lived here for ten years, and he remembered every single blade of grass and log of wood here. Even though the residents here couldn’t be considered as kind souls and he was barely acquainted with them, he still felt a tinge of warmth from the village, unexpectedly.
However, he quickly swept aside his emotion and headed for the straw cottage. There were also items that he had to pack in that lonely cottage by the foot of the mountain.
When he passed by the large Chinese scholar tree, Lu Chen’s footsteps halted for a moment. He looked at the old fisherman who was busy fishing and smiled. Eventually, deciding against saying anything, he walked right by him.
Cicadas shrieked behind his back with all their might, seeming to frenziedly resist this sweltering weather with all their might.
Walking on the mountainous path, Lu Chen took a look at the tea mountain. For many years, the only one who has been closer to him was probably only that lady.
It was a pity that she had placed her bets on another man.
However, this was fine as well. No matter what, the other party had more of a future than him.
The edges of his lips curled up into a bitter smile. The next instant, his smile suddenly froze. That was because, in the faraway peak of the tea mountain, he saw a glimmer of fire. After the flame waved about for a moment, it disappeared swiftly.
Was that… a fire torch in the day?
Since it was a gamble, one had to bear the consequences.
Lu Chen walked into the straw cottage and started to pack his items. Just that, walking to and fro in the straw cottage, he picked up some items only to put them down after awhile. Soon, he sat down by the bed and sighed, realising that he really had no attachments.
He remained quiet for a moment and confusion unwittingly appeared in his calm gaze, but it disappeared quickly. After a moment, he suddenly stood up, opened the door and started treading up the tea mountain.
The spirit tea trees that filled the mountain swayed along with the wind and the green leaves were filled with liveliness. It seemed as though the season of flourishing summer wasn’t frightened off by the scorching sun.