Lu Chen continues walking along the mountainous path, gradually advancing higher and higher up. The straw cottage and the village beneath the mountain gradually grow smaller and the small stream that flows through Clear Stream Village looks as though a slim but long snake.
The tea mountain is tranquil.
Sounds of chirping and the wind can be heard, but it is still tranquil.
There are many different paths on the mountains, and there would be a fork every now and then. Lu Chen would stop in his footsteps and ponder for a moment. Then, glancing upwards at the tea mountain and recalling the location where the fire torch lit up, he continues advancing.
After an hour or so, he stops by a mountainous path nearing the peak of the mountain. Before him, below a spirit tea tree, there is a withered branch that is charred black, as though it was burnt.
Gazing at the branch, Lu Chen walks up and squats next to it. Then, after picking it up and examining it closely for a moment, he suddenly reaches out to touch the charred portion.
It is still slightly warm.
He stands up abruptly and scans his surroundings, be it the ground, bushes or the forest.
There are disorderly footsteps all over, some of the bushes are skewed from being stepped on and there are quite a few broken twigs and floating leaves.
The mountainous wind blows, bringing chillness to the high altitudes of the mountainous peak.
Lu Chen stands on his original position for a moment before proceeding forward with an impassive expression towards the back of the tea mountain, in the direction of the west foothill.
Waterworks suddenly sound from the clear stream, shocking Old Yu, who is sitting under the large chinese scholar tree. Raising his head to take a look, he sees the fishing rod shaking intensely. After freezing up momentarily, intense joy appears on his face as he hurriedly pulls his fishing rod in.
The fishing rod first went taut. When he abruptly pulls the fishing rod backwards towards him, a large force suddenly surges through the fishing rod, and with a dull thud, the fishing line snaps.
Old Yu involuntarily retreats two steps and his heart sinks. Just as he is about to continue doing something, he sees a flash of black shadow in the depths of the water disappearing in the turn of an eye. Ripples appear on the stream, as though the wind is blowing on it. Very quickly, the ripples slowly fade away and the surface of the water calms down. In the clear water, no abnormality can be seen anymore as it reverts back to its original state.
“Aiya!” The old fisherman releases a furious howl. He stomps his feet, his back slouches and disappointment envelopes his face. At this point, he suddenly hears a voice from his back. Someone chuckles and speaks gently, “That was such a pity, that seemed to be a large fish.”
Old Yu turns around. At some point, a young man had started standing behind him under the large chinese scholar tree. He is dressed in a white shirt and his features are dashing. In one of his hand is a fold-able fan, and the picture of the mountains and flowing rivers can be seen on it. Even in this sweltering summer day, he still looks elegant and exudes an extraordinary aura.
This young man’s smile is tender, not to mention that he is good looking as well. The feeling that he generates in others at first sight is intimacy and comfort. Old Yu’s first impression upon seeing this young man is that this fellow seems to be even more good-looking than the Li Ji from a while ago.
However, he has never met this person, so it is unlikely that he is a resident of Clear Stream Village. At the same time, Old Yu isn’t a sociable person. He frowns, and without saying a word, he turns back, picks up his fishing rod and starts to fix his fishing line.
The young man behind doesn’t panic. Rather, with a smile, he gazes at Old Yu. After a moment, he says, “Old fisherman, have you been fishing here for a long time?”
“Un.” Initially, Old Yu didn’t intend on answering his question. However, the young man’s attitude is too polite, which makes him feel a little guilty for snubbing him. Thus, he subconsciously answers him.
The young man fans himself twice as he looks at the sky, “Such a hot day. It might be an uncomfortable weather, but I heard that there are some fishes that are different from the others when the weather is hot. These fishes would choose to swim to the surface instead. The situation a moment ago could very possibly be a result of that.”
Old Yu is taken aback. He turns around to look at him, “Do you mean it?”
The young man chuckles, keeps his fan and cups his hand, “I have only heard of it, so I dare not guarantee it.”
Old Yu ponders for a moment before nodding his head, “Alright, I will continue fishing here then.”
The young man nods with his head with a smile. Not saying anything else, he stands under the shade of the large chinese scholar tree, as though this transient life we were born with should be lived leisurely and unconstrained.
Old Yu doesn’t feel repulsed by his actions at all. Anyway, the young man isn’t interfering with his fishing. Just that, when his gaze momentarily glances about, he would see that in the distance, in some corners and the roads of the village, there are a few other figures and their faces are foreign to him.
Unlike Lu Chen who has no attachments whatsoever, the plump Old Ma, who is packing his luggage in the back of his small tavern, seems to realise that the items that belong to him, or rather, the items that he wants to bring away, seems to be exceptionally many.
He packs them one after another, filling them into one bag after another. In the end, even he himself can’t stand it any longer. He stares at the mountain-like luggage that fills half of his dwelling and depression glooms over his face. He mutters, “Forget it. If the fellow were to see this, he would definitely reprimand me severely.”
He shakes his head. Pain and regret covers his face as he kicks off a few bags of luggage with a sigh. Then, he picks up another few and repacks them. In the end, only three bags are left in the center of the room.
After which, Old Ma doesn’t pack anymore. Instead, he walks towards a wall and pulls out a drawer forcefully. After which, his hand fumbles about the corner of the wall and the next moment, a secret aperture reveals itself.
A bulging sack lies in the secret aperture, and the faint sound of knocking can be heard from within, as though it is filled with numerous little pebbles. Old Ma carefully carries the sack up and a satisfied expression appears on his face. He uses his hand to touch it lightly before exerting his strength to carry it. After which, he walks over to the center of the room and stuffs it into the depths of one of the bag.
Accomplishing this matter, Old Ma heaves a sigh of relief and satisfaction appears on his face. Before he is about to leave, he surveys the surroundings for one last time. Yet, at this moment, from the main entrance of the tavern, several clear knocking sound can be heard.
“Peng, Peng peng!
Accompanying the knocking is an extremely gentle voice of a young male from beyond the door, “Is there anyone inside?”
Old Ma turns around and looks at the entrance of the small tavern. For some inconceivable reason, his eyebrows knit together.
The sunlight scatters onto the ground in the form of thousands and thousands of golden rays, each incomparably searing. Yet, the water of the Dragon Lake at the back of the tea mountain is calm like a mirror, as though a beautiful gemstone was embedded into this mountain peak. In fact, when a person approaches the surface of the lake, he would feel a rare slight humid and cooling sensation in this sweltering weather.
The green mountains and the clear emerald water. The mountain reflects in the water while the lake radiates a painting of the mountain, creating an incomparably picturesque scenery.
The boundary between the water and the mountain should have been a land of calmness. Yet, a ruckus breaks out by the shore of the lake. Two figures are standing by the Dragon Lake. A male and a female, facing each other.