Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 7 - I'm Very Cold
It was a heavy darkness, and the slow, long night seemed to never end.
The mountain cliff where Meng Fuyao had just fallen off of was still predominated by silence; occasionally there would still be small pieces of rock that tumbled off the side, with the echo of impact only sounding after a very long time.
One could hear, that it was a very steep drop.
Some of the wild brush on the cliff side suddenly began to move.
After, a dai colored shadow appeared from within the thick, impenetrable darkness under the cliff, slowly arising.
That shadow seemed to completely ignore the laws of gravity, and like it was pulled by some mysterious unseen force, it lazily drew a semicircular arc in the air, steadily landing on top of the cliff.
The slender figure raised her head, moonlight shining in her cold, calm pupils.
With a mirthless smile, Fuyao's wrist beckoned, and a streak of indiscernible dark light snapped through the air and burrowed back into her sleeve.
"Want to harm me? Not that easy."
Meng Fuyao lightly stroked the thin black whip coiled around her wrist - this was the soft whip she used as a belt. Back when Pei Yuan's expression became odd, she had already wrapped the strap around her palm. The way Pei Yuan had torn her sleeve was very unusual, long causing her to be on her guard; when the red cloak swept over her covering Pei Yuan's motions, Fuyao's tying of the whip to an unobtrusive side rock was also concealed.
When Pei Yuan poked her nexuses, her preventative revolution of her injured "Breaking Nine Heavens" method managed to protect the points on the side of her body Pei Yuan was on. Because Pei Yuan was moving under the cloak, her precision was off and the power behind the jabs was lacking; furthermore, Fuyao also borrowed the force from falling off the cliff to completely breakthrough the slight paralysis.
Then, when she was pushed off the drop, the soft whip halted her descent. She had waited without moving until the two of them had gone far away before finally crawling back up the cliff.
Standing on the cliff while watching the darkness in front of her, Meng Fuyao thought she could see at the end of the darkness the high, exalted mountain village that once sheltered her, and the noble youth who once gave her such precious warmth.
Strong winds buffeted the mountain outcrop. The pale-faced young woman stood straight, her face devoid of expression. Before, thinking about those youthful days would unwittingly bring a smile to her face; now, however, her face held nothing.
Those days of confused affection and momentary impulses were but only a detour of exploration in the road of her life. She had mistaken that warm happiness she vaguely glimpsed between the hanging leaves and thick forest as her long-searched-for Garden of Eden, yet very quickly she was expelled from that fantasy.
But it was alright. In this world, there would always be losses to suffer, and there would always be debts to repay.
Meng Fuyao shook the gold threaded whip, the whip sending out a dazzling crack, echoing out into the mountain valley like the clear blow of a horn.
Smiling, she scooped out from her bosom a couple inky green strands of grass. The tips of the grass were actually white, as if the strands had morning frost accumulated on them.
Observing the grass with satisfaction, Meng Fuyao felt that her luck was quite good - she fell down a cliff just to unexpectedly find "Finger Frost" growing on the rocks. This type of herb had excellent medicinal efficacy for healing inner and outer wounds, and could even strengthen the constitution and nurture cultivation. This event was truly an affliction working out a blessing.
Carefully plucking a strand of grass, she went to put it in her mouth.
All of a sudden, she paused.
She slowly widened her eyes.
Wait a minute ...
She had counted the strands of grass before, and there was clearly six strands. How come now there were only five?
The grass had always been gripped in her hand, and no one was around - how could one have gone missing?
Teleportation? Space distortion? Ghosts?
The last guess sent a cold shiver down Meng Fuyao's back. All of the scenes from the horror films she saw in her past life immediately flashed past uninvited; those super scary images and sounds from theatrical special effects and CGI began to tumble around inside her head, letting out ghostly wails and evil howls.
Meng Fuyao had crossed over to this world for many years now, and after many extraordinary experiences could be considered to have a powerful will. However, right now she was on top of the empty mountains and high cliffs, and among the thick forests and howling winds. The trees and grass that surrounded her swayed like ghostly figures dancing, already exuding a dark menacing aura. With the strand of herb vanishing from her hands without a trace, the Meng Fuyao who couldn't understand no matter how hard she thought could only shiver in place, almost wanting to shriek "There's a ghost!!"
Just then, she thought of one of the things that old guy used to say: "There were no ghosts at first, only after people started to fear them, then did ghosts come into being."
Keeping this thought in mind, Meng Fuyao mustered her courage, and with a crack of her whip, a "pa" sound resounded out while she hollered, "Who's there!"
No one replied, only the wind's whistling sound could be heard.
Meng Fuyao waited for a long while without moving, but the only result was her angrily retrieving the long whip. She thought to put back the herb strands, but in that instant her whole body shook, with her falling into a shocked daze again.
The grass was missing yet another strand!
Dumbly examining the remaining four strands of grass in her palm, Meng Fuyao was completely unable to stop herself from attributing the strange events to the supernatural. But this ghost couldn't be seen and didn't harm her in anyway, what was it doing by constantly stealing her herbs?
Biting her teeth, Meng Fuyao grew spiteful, and quickly shoved the remaining four strands all into her mouth while angrily masticating, "Let me see you steal them now! Why don't you just keep stealing them!?"
Within the gust of mountain wind there seemed to drift a light chuckle.
After hearing the mirthful sound, Meng Fuyao was actually not as afraid as before. The matter of them being a person or ghost aside, they seemed to hold no ill-will. Relaxing a little, Fuyao straightforwardly sat down where she stood, exaggeratedly closing her eyes and adjusting her breathing.
Then with a careless wave of her hand, "You there, looks like you're pretty bored. If you really have nothing else to do, why don't you protect me while I'm cultivating."
Yet another light chuckle came, its sound low and soothing. It was slightly cool and elegant, the tones melding together in a strange euphony. Hearing it conjured scenes of the unbroken peaks in the northern state of Di, where wind blew through jade, building-like trees and gave rise to jeweled chimes.
The surroundings were heavy and still, with autumn's fragrance transpiring from the forest in the deep night. Within the forest's scent, there emanated a trace of an aroma different from the air of the natural surroundings - it smelled purer and more refined.
Despite all this, Meng Fuyao acted like she neither heard nor smelled anything out of the ordinary, only shutting her eyes and focusing on meditating.
The third chuckle rang out, this time right next to the side of her ear. At the same time, with a rumbling sound, a streak of fiery light instantly ignited on the ground in front of Fuyao. The dancing orange blaze shined a warm red onto the eyelids of Meng Fuyao, who previously was surreptitiously peeking through her eyelashes.
On the other side of the fire, on top of a lonely pine, laid tilted a wide-sleeve robed man. The light-colored folds of his robes draped downward, stitched with obscure, silvery inscription patterns. The symbols were hard to discern in the darkness, but when his body moved they constantly glittered dimly.
He leaned slanted on top of a skinny and fragile end of a tree branch. Despite his clearly tall stature, he gave off a feeling of being light like a wisp of clouds; despite his clearly idle posture, he gave off a feeling of being far up high, like a towering jade mountain.
The tree branch leisurely swayed, while he leisurely cast tree branches - every time he threw a branch, it accurately fell into the fire, landing under the previously thrown branches. With the increase in the amount of branches, the fire gradually expanded into an arch-shaped structure of firewood, causing the firewood to blaze even more wildly.
With the movements of his palm, it slightly revealed a corner of a mark in the middle of his right hand. The mark's color was darker than the skin around it, but because of the distance between them, the shape was not clear.
Meng Fuyao's vision swept back and forth, finally landing on that beautifully architected fire structure. Her two hands pushed into the ground, cautiously shifting backwards a step.
Even if she calculated with her fingers1 she would realize, that this guy was that "ghost" from before. Putting aside everything else, just judging by his extreme skill in Qinggong2 and the awesomeness displayed through randomly throwing some branches, if this guy's thoughts turned wicked, her little two legs were far from enough for her to escape.
However, before she even had time to move her butt, the person began to speak.
"Girl, the night's frost is heavy. I'm very cold."3
1. Basically means any idiot would realize, i.e. if she counted with her fingers. I am sure those of you who read Emperor's Domination are familiar with this term
2. Type of martial training that allows user to be as light as a feather and do gravity-defying moves (shown here by the guy lying on a skinny tree branch), also characterized by extreme speed3. Sometimes used by guys to try to pick up girls (I'm cold, hold me plz)