Chapter 19: Refugee (1)
The moment Miao Yi fulfilled his requests, Lao Bai didn’t go back on his words. He stopped ‘preventing’ Miao Yi from leaving. But in reality, he had never stopped him; it was more of a reminder. However, Miao Yi would always carry out his reminders no matter what.
As Miao Yi’s name had suggested, he possessed the willpower that Lao Bai admired. And Miao Yi himself was more self-aware than Lao Bai had initially thought, which saved him from additional preparations or approaches that he was prepared to do.
The wooden raft, built from the freshly chopped timber, was pushed into the sea. Miao Yi tied his messy long hair into a bun and secured it with a wooden hairpin.
He jumped onto the wooden raft holding a wooden spear, then turned around to grin at Lao Bai, revealing a row of white teeth.
Miao Yi was really leaving. Since the moment he arrived at this island, he had gradually grown from a mature teenager into the sturdy youth he was today. His appearance changed considerably over time. And all of this happened in a flash of ten years.
Ten years had passed. He was really going to leave.
“Lao Bai, you really don’t want to go with me?” Miao Yi stood on the bamboo raft and asked.
Lao Bai shook his head and laughed softly, “Please take care of yourself. From now on, I won’t be able to guide you on whatever obstacles you face. Remember, from today onwards, you have to depend on yourself!”
Miao Yi nodded heavily. He looked at Lao Bai with conflicting emotions and said, “I should really thank you.”
Lao Bai smiled gently at him, “No need to thank me, if I’m ever in need of your help next time, I hope you won’t turn me down.”
Miao Yi patted his chest and assured him, “As long as it is something that I can do, I definitely won't refuse you.”
Lao Bai nodded, “I hope you will remember what you have said today.”
“I won’t forget,” Miao Yi asserted. But after that, he scratched his head and asked hesitantly, “Lao Bai, the ‘Fiery Star Technique’ that I’m cultivating isn’t too bad compared to those other cultivators, right?”
“I have never compared it with other cultivations, so I can’t answer your question. Good or bad, you will know for certain when the time comes. But you must remember one thing.”
“What is it?”
“Arts shouldn’t be spread around. The techniques you have cultivated on your own will be the foundation that will save your life. Do not give them away so easily, otherwise, you will bring calamity upon yourself. You must remember! You must!”
“You’ve told me this numerous times already. I still remember, it’s considered taboo in the world of cultivation!” After Miao Yi had finished, a gust of sea breeze blew in from the east. He raised his hand to feel the wind, then shouted, “The wind has come, Lao Bai, I really have to go now. Are you really sure that you don’t want to come with me?”
Lao Bai waved his hands lightly, then turned his back and left with no words of farewell.
Miao Yi raised his painted sailcloth, which was immediately blown by the sea breeze, and then pushed the raft into the vast waters. He looked at Lao Bai’s silhouette and shouted once more, “Lao Bai, you have so much knowledge, it’s really a pity that you don’t cultivate. Please carefully reconsider it again when I’m gone.”
Lao Bai walked towards the mountain forest with his back facing Miao Yi. The edge of his lips curved, dismissing Miao Yi with a smile…
Navigating with the wind and the current, the wooden raft imbued with transcendence energy sailed at full speed ahead.
He watched as the island slowly disappeared from the sea’s horizon. His excitement at leaving the island suddenly turned into slight reluctance, with a trace of regret. It was the kind of hesitation that springs forth from one’s ignorance towards the unknown.
The sun set and rose, and soon a day had passed. Miao Yi still couldn’t see signs of dry land. He suddenly felt doubt as he remembered that it was Lao Bai who steered his bamboo raft to that island.
Lao Bai wasn’t a cultivator. With just his bamboo raft, how was he able to sail through the vast sea and land on that faraway island?
He simply couldn’t wrap his head around it. However, Lao Bai was full of wisdom and had known many strange things. It was possible he had some sort of approach up his sleeves that Miao Yi didn’t know about...
The day had turned into dusk with the setting sun. Just then, a ship appeared on the surface of the sea, coming from the direction that Miao Yi was heading to.
Truth be told, Miao Yi had never seen such a huge ship before. He stopped directing his flow of transcendence energy on the wooden raft and allowed it to float along the currents. Miao Yi was prepared to take a good look at the massive ship.
The ship had many levels of deluxe suites. The bamboo curtains were dangling against the windows, letting in the sea breeze to blow through the ship.
A small child just learning to walk was tottering and crawling around on a thick rug. Two women laughed joyously at the child’s attempts; one was a young, married woman adorned with jewelry; the other, a red-clothed servant girl. The beaded curtain at the door suddenly flipped open. Another servant girl, clothed in green, ran inside and shouted hysterically, “Madame, oh no, oh no, a person is floating in the sea.”
As she said that, the married woman and the servant girl were instantly frightened and covered their mouths.
The hysterical girl instantly realized that she had conveyed the wrong message and quickly revised her words, “It’s not a dead person. He’s alive. He’s drifting alone in his raft. I don’t know what he must have gone through to end up sailing alone at sea.”
So it wasn’t a corpse. The married woman stood up and walked towards the servant girl to give her a poke on the temple of her head. A few people came up to the balcony and leaned on the rails to look around.
Miao Yi stood on the wooden raft looking in their direction, and he was the poor guy they were talking about.
“Steward!” The married woman leaned against the railings and shouted at the lower deck.
A middle-aged man wearing a large bamboo hat immediately ran upstairs. He bowed and asked, “Madame, what is your order?”
The married woman pointed in Miao Yi’s direction, “I don’t know what happened to that poor man, but since we found him, let us get closer to lend him a hand.”
“Understood.” The steward immediately went downstairs and made arrangements.
The ship slowly sailed towards Miao Yi. He thought that it was strange, but he waited until the ship drew closer to him. The people on the ship threw down a rope ladder and yelled a few words of assistance. It was only then Miao Yi realized that they were treating him as a refugee from the sea.
Since Miao Yi was clueless as to where he was going, and he was curious about the ship, he might as well just pretend to be a refugee and abandon his wooden raft. He climbed up to the ship, taking his wooden spear with him.
After climbing on board, Miao Yi looked around curiously. The steward wearing a bamboo hat was already walking towards him.
“You are lucky to have met with our Madame’s kindness. Come with me,” the steward prompted, and led Miao Yi into a storeroom full of items.
Nobody took notice of the wooden rod in Miao Yi’s hand. At least to their knowledge, that wooden spear was just a wooden rod.
Soon after, water and food were quickly delivered to Miao Yi to fill his belly. They reckoned that he must be famished from drifting along the sea.
Miao Yi, on the other hand, thought of them as kind people. The steward had already begun interrogating him on his background.
Since they had treated him as a sea refugee, Miao Yi took the opportunity to cook up some wild tales about himself.
Initially, he wanted to experience some respect and recognition by flaunting his identity of being an ‘Immortal’. After all, he had just got out from cultivating in the mountains, and showing this kind of attitude as a greenhorn was inevitable. But since these people were kind-hearted, he felt that there was no need to frighten them, so he waved that thought away in the end.
The steward was starting to notice something strange about Miao Yi. He didn’t seem like a refugee because he didn’t look as dejected as most refugees would be. After a thorough examination, he confirmed that he was indeed a refugee and immediately briefed Miao Yi, “The ship will arrive on dry land within the next few days. If you have nothing urgent, please stay inside the storeroom. There are women on the ship, so do not go running around the deck!”
Miao Yi nodded and thanked him.
After he had finished the meal they had delivered to him, a green-clothed servant maid came in carrying a blanket. She looked at Miao Yi curiously and put down the blanket, “Madame ordered this for your stay tonight.”
Miao Yi nodded and watched as she took away the dining utensils.
His sole intention of coming aboard the ship was to look at the ship’s structure. Miao Yi eventually became bored staying in the storeroom of the ship, and he finally gave in and walked up to the deck to look around.
After the steward had discovered him wandering around, his expression turned sour. It might be because Miao Yi had refused to listen to his orders.