‘Freezing Sky Clan’s ninth summit… is it my home now?’
Su Ming looked at the white world lying before him in the distance, and a familiar yet strange feeling rose in his heart.
What was familiar was the snow, and what was strange was the land.
Snow danced in the air around him. When he looked at it, Su Ming lowered his head and walked down the plant covered stairs.
‘Since I’m already here, then I might as well find a cave abode first.’
As Su Ming walked down, he looked around him, and all he saw were plants that could survive in the cold. They grew so densely that they covered most of the mountain.
‘Our second senior brother is far too hardworking, which led him to believe that he could do better…’
The words of his third senior brother, Hu Zi, echoed in Su Ming’s ears. He walked for a long time, and gradually began to understand what those words meant.
When night arrived and the world turned dark, Su Ming found a place that was not covered in plants in a certain part of the ninth summit’s mountainside. The spot was a little further away from the stairs. There was a big stone protruding off the ground, and it formed a platform that was not too big.
When Su Ming stood on the platform and the moaning winter breeze blew past his ears, he lifted his right hand, and immediately, the center of his brows shone with a green light. The small virescent sword flew out and circled Su Ming several times before it charged towards the rock wall of the ninth summit next to him.
Banging sounds echoed in the air, and under the small sword’s continuous barrage, Su Ming gradually opened up a simple cave abode in the rock wall. The ice stones on the wall were incredibly sturdy. Just trying to hew out a simple cave abode required a bit of an effort from Su Ming’s part.
Only when the moon hung high in the sky was the cave abode finally finished. Su Ming put away the small sword and looked at the cave abode before him. It was so simple that it did not even have a door. He shook his head and went in.
There was only one room in his abode. Su Ming walked to the end and looked around. The walls of the cave gave off a chilling air, causing the entire abode to also be cold.
He sat down quietly and took out the beast skin map from his bosom. He lowered his head and looked at it for a moment before sighing softly.
‘Power… Master is right. If I want to get out of the Land of South Morning, then I need great power.
‘First, I need to find a method to clear my mind and understand the true meaning of ‘Creation’.’
Su Ming put away the beast skin map and sat down on the ground with a contemplative look on his face.
Time trickled by. During his first night in Freezing Sky Clan’s ninth summit and in the simple cave abode with the moaning winter wind as his companion, Su Ming spent most of the night mulling over Tian Xie Zi’s words.
Besides the wind, Freezing Sky Clan was quiet at night. It was especially so on the ninth summit, because there were just too few people living there.
Moonlight scattered on the ground outside in a gentle manner, though the light gave the snow on the ground a biting cold air.
When it was almost daylight, Su Ming woke up from his meditation. He frowned. He was a little unclear on what exactly clearing his mind meant.
‘Clearing my own mind? I should have already done it. My mind is already calm and cleared. But what’s the use of it for my training..? What does Master mean by understanding it?’
Su Ming thought about it for a long time, but still found himself a little unclear about it. He lifted his head and looked at the dimly lit sky outside his abode before walking outside.
An unfamiliar land and an unfamiliar mountain. The moment Su Ming walked outside, cold wind blew against his face and brought some snow. He did not mind the cold brought by the snow.
The sky was dimly lit. The darkness around the area had mostly gone away and he could see the outline of the land. Su Ming walked forward without a direction and the snow he walked on made crunching sounds under his feet. Those sounds along with the rhythm at which they came gradually relaxed Su Ming’s mind that had become confused form his inability to understand his Master’s words.
‘Clearing the mind… does he mean to train the mind?’
Su Ming felt as if he understood something.
He had no idea how much time had passed, but as he walked around, he suddenly stopped and a piercing and fierce look appeared in his eyes. However, he soon relaxed and looked forward with an odd expression.
He saw a person crouching before him behind a big stone. That person had a pot of wine in his hands. As he drank, he would stretch his head out from behind the big rock carefully and peak outwards.
From where Su Ming stood, he could only see that person’s back. He could not see exactly what the person was so carefully peaking at from behind the rock.
"Third senior brother..?"
Su Ming’s expression became even odder. He could not really understand what this man who kept referring to himself as Grandpa Hu was doing by crouching there.
Third senior brother had clearly noticed Su Ming. He turned back and swiftly placed his index finger by his mouth and made faces at him. Once he signaled Su Ming to not make a sound, he beckoned him over.
Su Ming hesitated for a moment before he walked carefully towards him. When he saw that his third senior brother was being very cautious and even had a hint of nervousness on his face, Su Ming could not help but to keep his guard up. He even bent down and approached him slowly.
When he saw Su Ming’s attitude, admiration appeared on the man’s face. Once Su Ming was close, he grabbed his arm and pulled him behind himself before he whispered, "Don’t speak. No matter what you see later, don’t cause a ruckus, or else things will get troublesome."
This third senior brother of his had kept him company when Su Ming was traveling to the ninth summit, but he had never seen such an expression on the dense-looking man.
When Su Ming saw this, he could not help but be surprised. However, he also became serious because of his words and nodded his head.
"Aye, that’s it. When I look over next time, you can peak with me. Remember this, don’t cause a ruckus…"
Third senior brother licked his lips. As he warned Su Ming, he drank some more wine, then lifted his head and looked out of the edge of the mountain rock.
Su Ming also lifted his head and stole a glance over the edge of the mountain rock.
That one glance alone made the expression on his face became even more peculiar.
There was nothing behind the mountain rock. The entire place was filled with plants, and there was no sign of anyone being there. The place was silent.
Third senior brother’s spirits were lifted up and he whispered quickly, "He’s here!"
The moment those words were said, Su Ming immediately saw a person in white floating towards them like a ghost from the distance.
However, he was not really traveling very fast. Once he drifted to the spot filled with plants before them, he stopped. Judging by his looks, that person was Su Ming’s second senior brother.
There was a cautious look on his face. Once he looked around to check his surroundings, he lowered his head and looked at the plants by his feet before crouching down and picking some of them. After that, he looked around once again before drifting away into the distance.
Su Ming was stunned.
He simply could not understand just what he needed to observe in this person. The cautious and stern look on Hu Zi’s face made Su Ming feel that this was completely absurd.
Once their second senior brother left, Hu Zi relaxed and leaned against the stone with a wide grin on his face as he looked at Su Ming.
"So? Didn’t that feel great?"
Su Ming was speechless. He looked at his third senior brother and found himself at a complete loss for words.
"Let me tell you, youngest junior brother. Do you know who is the smartest person on the ninth summit?"
There was a prideful look of third senior brother’s face as he picked up the pot of wine and drank a huge mouthful. He even let out a drunken burp in the process.
Su Ming was silent and shook his head. He felt that he should not be here, or perhaps more accurately speaking, he should not even have come out of his cave abode.
"You don’t? Well, that’s to be expected. This is your first day on the mountain. Let me tell you, if we compare our powers, I can’t win against our second senior brother, neither can I win against our eldest senior brother, much less the old man.
"But intelligence is another matter. Is there anyone else who is smarter than me on this mountain? None!"
Third senior brother’s expression became even more prideful.
Su Ming continued staying silent. He looked at the man before him and had no idea just how he came to this conclusion.
"You’re shocked, right? Let me tell you, your Grandpa Hu is the smartest person because I like to think," third senior brother whispered to him with a pleased look.
"Not only do I like thinking, I also like observing things. It’s not just the ninth summit, I also have other targets of observation on the other mountains.
"I think, I observe, that’s why I keep getting smarter!
"What did you see just now? You saw our second senior brother, right? Let me tell you. What you saw was our second senior brother, but also not our second senior brother. Haha, our second senior brother is constantly paranoid and keeps saying that someone is stealing his plants at night. He even suspects that I’m the one stealing those plants, but I’m not going to tell him that I see him stealing his own plants at night every single time."
The pleased look on third senior brother’s face grew clearer as he whispered to Su Ming.
Su Ming felt his head hurt. He rubbed the center of his brows, and just as he was about to stand up and leave…
"Our senior second brother has gone mad with farming. The him you see at night and the him you see in the morning are different people. Isn’t it tiring? He goes to plant stuff in the morning, and then he goes and steals at night, and he’s always looking for the thief, which also happens to be him. I’m not going to tell him, though."
Third senior brother grinned and took a big swig from his wine pot.
Su Ming smiled wryly as he looked at him.
He finally understood just what was his third senior brother’s strange habit. That eccentricity of his was not his love to drink wine, but it was his love to observe and think.
"The wine’s a little cold now. I’ve been here for too long, and now the wine’s not nice anymore," third senior brother mumbled and stood up, then swept his gaze over Su Ming.
"Youngest junior brother, your senior brother Hu is happy today, so what do you say if I bring you to see our eldest senior brother? Our senior brother is a weird person. Isn’t he silly? He’s constantly in isolation just like a turtle. Isn’t that tiring? He should live his life like me. He needs to think more, observe more, drink more, and dream more…
"But I heard from the old man when he borrowed wine from me that our eldest senior brother is different from us. He’s real lucky, you know. He was the first to follow the old man, and I heard that he got himself some real skills. I heard that it’s the most mysterious skill from Freezing Sky Clan," third senior brother mumbled drunkenly, pouting.
Su Ming was just about to leave when he heard the man’s words. His heart jumped suddenly and a brilliant light appeared in his eyes. He had a feeling that he had caught onto something from his third senior brother’s words, and his feet stopped moving once again.
He lowered his head and looked at his third senior brother looking at him with a drunken look and a foolish grin. Slowly, he found himself unable to tell whether this person was truly drunk, or that he was just telling him all of it on purpose.
"Are you coming? If you’re not, then I’ll go by myself."
Third senior brother rubbed his eyes and yawned.