Di Tian's hair was a mess as he stood in midair, in silence. The bone xun before him had already disappeared, and so had Su Ming.
A moment later, Di Tian lifted his head, his face was twisted by a ferocious expression. An anger so great that it could practically burn the skies appeared on his face, and he let out a roar towards the sky, one so powerful it could shake the sky and earth!
That roar echoed in the air and spread to all directions. It lingered for a long time in the area, refusing to disappear.
Destiny's Heavenly Punishment had destroyed everything in a circular area of thousands of lis, but it had not managed to find any trace of Su Ming. Di Tian had been able to sense that the power from Heavenly Punishment had affected Su Ming… but he did not die.
With killing intent and madness raging in him, Di Tian cast his divine sense outward and swept through the sky and earth, covering the furthest possible area within the limits of his divine sense… but he could not find Su Ming!
He had disappeared just like that from Di Tian's sight once again, causing him to be unable to find him…
He had sent his clone to this place, but the results in the end were the same. Destiny's awakening had especially caused Di Tian's heart to tremble. He remained standing in midair until the purple light disappeared and the pit was once again filled with seawater. The entire Dead Sea sank a little.
'I refuse to believe that you can hide eternally. One of these days, I will definitely find you again, and next time I find you, I swear… I will do whatever it takes to make your mind sink into oblivion!' Di Tian closed his eyes, but the dark expression on his face did not go away until he turned around and took a step towards the distant sky!
The sky was blue, the sun was bright, especially now that it was near noon. The sun's rays felt warm when they fell on one's skin, forcing people to sweat. Not much of the heat was brought away by the wind.
A lovely fragrance of osmanthus could not be sent away by what little wind there was in the area, either. It could only linger around the place where it was born and continue filling it.
Laughter, weaving through the trees, came from a short distance away, and some scattered houses could be found in that direction.
There were about a hundred families there. Chimney smoke could be seen rising in the air at that moment, and amidst the fragrance of osmanthus, the place looked like a paradise.
There were a lot mountains in the area, causing this place to look incredibly secluded from the world. Not many people could be seen moving about, and only some faint trails from carriages could be found on the one and only path leading to the houses.
Perhaps it was because it had rained just recently. Despite the bright sun, the ground was still filled with mud. Those who walked on the road would find their feet letting out slapping sounds as they stepped on mud, creating a unique charm to walking about.
There was a teenager dressed in clothes that were filled with patches in the osmanthus forest at that moment. He was sitting on some leaves as he leaned against a tree, looking at the sky that could not be hidden away by the forest canopy, immersed in his own thoughts.
He looked rather pale, but this pale face made him look incredibly elegant and handsome. He was young, only about twelve to thirteen years of age, and the patched clothes could not cover his temperament that could make others grow fond of him the moment they saw him.
However, his body looked incredibly frail. His eyes, though, were extremely lively as he looked at the sky while leaning against an osmanthus tree.
He stared at the sky quietly. There were some blades of grass in his hands, and as he manipulated them, they were gradually woven into a figure of a small person. All of this was done instinctively. He was still looking at the sky, though no one knew what he saw. Perhaps it was the blue sky, and perhaps it was the white clouds. No one would know besides him.
After a long while, the sound of footsteps traveled through the forest, and along with them came a clear voice that belonged to a child. It fell into the boy's ears.
"Dog Leftovers, big brother, Dog Leftovers… ma wants you back home…"
This was a little girl's voice. There was a hint of innocence within her clear voice, as if she had yet to be tainted by the materialistic world, had yet to begin harboring complicated thoughts. She still retained her childlike, innocent dreams.
She was a little girl of eight to nine years old, and was dressed in clothes filled with patches. There were two braids by the side of her head, but she was not pretty. There was a birthmark on her face, yet her eyes were bright. If anyone looked past that birthmark, they would find that she was actually a very adorable girl.
When the boy heard the girl's voice, he averted his gaze from the sky, and a smile stemming from the bottom of his heart appeared on his face. He sat up straight and looked towards the girl running towards him.
"Slow down, the ground's filled with mud." The boy walked over, speaking gently. There was a doting look in his eyes as he looked at the little girl.
"Dog Leftovers, ma made good food today! She made my favorite medicinal herbs! Hurry up! Hurry up!" the girl said with a smile, as she ran to the boy's side. She even lifted her tiny hands and brushed away the mud and leaves on the boy's clothes.
The boy patted the girl's head and took her hand with a smile before walking out of the forest with her.
"Big brother, why do you always come here? There's nothing here besides osmanthus trees." The girl called Ugly Little Thing blinked her eyes and held the boy's hand as she asked curiously.
The boy smiled and did not speak. He merely lifted his head to cast a glance at the side, and a wizened look that no one else could see flashed past his eyes.
When they walked out of the forest, that wizened look buried itself in the boy's eyes, and it could no longer be found. Perhaps only the air around him could sense the sigh he let out in his heart, for it caused the originally clear sky to swiftly turn much darker, dark clouds appearing above.
The forest was not too far from the houses. It would only take them some time to reach the place. With the girl, who was clearly in a hurry to eat that medicinal herb, dragging his hand, the boy ran with her to the houses.
They ran into some children, who were about their age, playing with each other on their way back. Once they saw the siblings, some of the children started poking fun at them.
"Ugly Little Thing, what good food did your ma make today?"
"That's right, Ugly Little Thing, didn't you say your parents were going to make you clothes without patches?"
The girl holding the boy's hand lowered her head, and her body tensed up slightly, but she quickly recovered. She still had her head dipped down, however. She wanted to leave this place as quickly as possible, back to an ordinary house not too far away. That was her home.
This could not be considered a tribe, because the people here were not related to each other. Perhaps this place could only be called a village.
As the boy listened to the jabs and taunts thrown at the little girl, he frowned, but the girl held her hand on his wrist in a dead grip, and there was a pleading look on her face. It made the boy sigh once again in his heart. He could only follow her quietly back home.
"We're back! Pa, ma, I brought big brother back. We can eat now!" The little girl smiled happily and ran in once she pushed open the door to her house.
Dog Leftovers entered the house right behind her. This was a house made of mud. It was not big, and there were only two rooms in it. When he walked in, coughs could be heard coming from one of the rooms.
"Dog Leftovers, did you go look at the osmanthus again? They'll be gone in a few months' time, so you should look at them as much as you can now…" A middle-aged man walked out from the other room, speaking to the boy.
The man's face was filled with an ancient air. His clothes were simple, and his face honest. When he walked out, he looked towards the boy, and a kind smile appeared on his face. He was not tall, and neither was he strong. Only his hands would give others a unique impression. Those hands were full of scars, which covered many areas, especially on his fingers.
At that moment, with just one glance, the boy could tell that were clearly new wounds on the man's hands.
Right behind the man was a woman. Her skin was rough, but despite that her original beauty could still be seen. Time, however, had left too many marks on her, causing her to look older than she really was. She was holding two bowls in her hands as she smiled at the boy.
"You little rascal, if Ugly Little Thing hadn't called you back home for lunch, you wouldn't have come back. You'll only ever return when it's dark outside. You're still weak, be careful to not catch a cold outside."
A tender smile appeared on the boy's face. He walked up and received the bowl from the woman's hand and spoke softly.
"Pa, ma, I'm fine."
"Alright now, eat more of this mountain herb later. Your grandpa Zhang just got himself a grandson this morning, so he gave us some mountain medicine in exchange for some of your pa's straw dolls. He said to use these to provide nourishment for you and our little Ugly Doll." The woman looked at the boy and the girl, who was cheerfully setting up the table, with a loving look. She walked over to the table with her husband.
This was not a sumptuous meal. They only had the soft looking, well cooked mountain herbs and some sweet fruit juice. Ugly Little Thing's cheerful laughter echoed in this normal family, and the woman's love, as well the middle-aged man's gentle demeanor gave the house a warm atmosphere.
The boy looked at them, and a smile appeared on his face as well. That smile came from the depths of his heart. He was thankful to this family, and especially grateful to this little girl called Ugly Little Thing.
A year ago, he had woken up in this place, and this girl had discovered him in the mountains when she was out alone picking different types of grass for her father to use for his straw dolls. She had carried him back home on her back, and from then on… he lived here.
He now had a younger sister, and her name was Ugly Little Thing, because she was ugly. But her kindness, her adorable laughter, and her lively eyes made him constantly remember a frail little body carrying him all the way back when he was still unconscious.
He now had a father, and he was an honest, good-natured man. He was a mortal, and he lived in poverty while being constantly plagued by sickness, but the straw dolls he made were incredibly lifelike, and they were the toys for the children in the village.
He now had a mother as well. She was an incredibly kind and gentle woman who loved her husband, her daughter, her family, and had also showered an outsider like him with ample motherly love.
He… was Su Ming.
A year ago, when he woke up in this house filled with warmth, his cultivation base had scattered, but did not disappear. It was hidden within his body, a remnant that stayed within him after he had made his power explode. Back then, he'd been heavily injured during his fight against Di Tian, and so that remnant needed time to fully recover.
1. Ugly Little Thing and later on, Dog Leftovers: This is a break from the "Ooh all names are in pinyin", because they are pet names. It's a superstition that died down in my generation that you should give children lousy and degrading pet names so that they will have good lives, healthy bodies, and not die, because their lives will be tough enough that they won't get sick, and the reaper won't come for them. I think the wealthy and upper class (the ones who are literate and officials) don't do this thing. It's also only in China and not where I'm from.