Auntie Qi was currently idle. With Linglong in seclusion training, her heart felt really empty. When Xiaodong came over to have her fix his clothes, it gave her something to do and she could shrug off the unbearable feeling of being alone.
“When I was young, my handiwork was not as good as it is presently, but my eyesight was much better than now. Now, I feel like my hands are more nimble than when I was young, but my eyesight isn’t as good as before.”
Xiaodong was at the side helping her thread the needle. “Shall I request Senior Brother to concoct some medicine to cure it for you? Though it might not possibly restore your eyesight, it’s better than not curing at all.”
Auntie Qi laughed. “That can’t do. If it’s curable, Spiritual Master would have already cured it for me. These eyes were contaminated by smoke before. As long as I’m not blind and can still see things, it’s already pretty good. But don’t worry, your clothes only have a small hole. Fixing it won’t be a problem.”
Xiaodong actually liked to be with Auntie Qi. Auntie Qi had a good temperament, and not only was her sewing skills good, but she could also make good desserts.
Though she was naggy at times.
“Auntie Qi, how long have you been on the mountain?”
Auntie Qi replied him thinking much about it, “In total, it’s been almost thirty years…”
Xiaodong could deduce something even without counting. “Then isn’t that much earlier than Eldest Senior Brother?”
Though Eldest Senior Brother had considerable capabilities and his fame was growing day by day, he was actually just about twenty years old.
“But of course,” Auntie Qi said with a smile.
“Then do you also know how Eldest Senior Brother was when he was young?”
Auntie Qi pinched the thread as she replied, “Of course. Young Master Mo was obedient ever since he was young, and he was not like the other kids who liked to cry and cause a ruckus. I still remember the day Spiritual Master carried him back here. It was already late autumn back then and the weather was incredibly cold. Frost had appeared on the trees and rocks. When Spiritual Master carried him back, the swaddling silk was all wet. I was really frightened back then. A child at that age,in such a weather, even if he did not freeze to death, he would definitely be gravely ill. I really wonder just how truly ruthless a person might be to abandon him beneath the mountains. Even if he didn’t freeze to death, if a tiger or a wolf had come, wouldn’t he have been eaten in a few bites?”
It was truly too ruthless.
A common enemy began to ingrain into Xiaodong’s heart just as Auntie Qi had, as he lambasted that unknown person.
Auntie Qi continued to ramble on. There was no need for a conversational spark to talk about past matters after all. Fortunately, Xiaodong was not picky either and listened especially seriously, not willing to let a single word go unheard.
“Auntie Qi, when we head up and head down the mountain, there aren’t any birds or fierce beasts, right? An array exists on our mountain after all.”
Auntie Qi raised her head, and said with a slightly perplexed look, “I remember there were some in the early days…”
“There shouldn’t be,” Xiaodong explained, “Senior Brother Jiang said that the array was here since a very long time ago.”
Auntie Qi pondered seriously, “There were indeed some in the early days. I recall that there were wolves and other beasts. Though it’s true we haven’t seen any in the past few years.”
In the time they spoke, Auntie Qi had already fixed the clothes for him, and she had Xiaodong see if he was satisfied with it. Auntie Qi’s skills were pretty good. If one did not look at it carefully, it was basically impossible to spot that the clothes had been mended.
Xiaodong happily wore the mended clothes and decided that he was definitely going to wear them less from now on. He should not get them dirty or torn for no reason.
The safest way was to store it well and not wear it, that way the clothes would not grow old nor get dirty.
However, Xiaodong especially liked these old clothes that belonged to Eldest Senior Brother. He felt that the distance between him and Eldest Senior Brother had gotten shorter, and he felt more confident about himself when compared to the past. It was as if, by wearing Eldest Senior Brother’s clothes, he could become as outstanding as Eldest Senior Brother.
Xiaodong straightened the sleeves and then stood there with a silly smile. After smiling, he continued on his way back. It was now late spring. Many flowers had already bloomed on the mountain, and he could name out most of them. The entire mountain was covered in red and green. The flowers were not rare, but they certainly had filled the entire mountain as the wind constantly carried their scent. Xiaodong’s feet were light and quick, and his clothes fluttered in the breeze. The sun was especially good, shining on his forehead to the point it was beginning to heat up. Along the way, he felt as if he was floating, and his head was a little dizzy too.
Mo Chen saw that his face was about turning red from the sun and instructed him, “Go drink some water. Why did you get yourself this hot?”
“I wanted to hurry back so I walked quickly.” Along the way, there were even parts where he raised his spirits and ran. His heart was beating very quickly and even after sitting for a good while, his face was still red.
“Eldest Senior Brother, Eldest Senior Brother!” Jiang Fan’s face was full of smiles when he came in, and then he moved to the side to let the person behind him enter the room. “Look who’s here?”
Xiaodong turned his head. Across the shelf, he could see a person entering after Senior Brother Jiang. He wore an indigo cloak, but Xiaodong could not make out his face behind the shelf. All Xiaodong could hear was Eldest Senior Brother welcoming him with incredible excitement. The two bowed deeply towards each other, and then entered the room together with smiles on their faces.
Xiaodong came over. This guest was someone he did not recognize, so he did not know how to address him.
The person was not that short, and if Xiaodong wanted to look at him, he would have to raise his head to do so.
“This is Junior Brother Yun, right? I’ve heard from my master that Spiritual Master Li had taken in a new disciple. This is still our first meeting.”
Mo Chen introduced him to Xiaodong. “This is the disciple of Spiritual Master Hu. You can address him as Senior Brother Ning.”
Xiaodong hurriedly bowed in respect.
Senior Brother Ning reached out his hands to hold him up, and said with a smile, “You don’t have to be this courteous, I didn’t even bring any gifts. If I were to accept this bow, how would it be appropriate for me to come empty-handed? But if I really had to give one, I would be unwilling to.”
This Senior Brother Ning was very humorous in the way he talked and wasn’t snobby at all.
Xiaodong raised his head and had a clear look at Senior Brother Ning’s appearance.
Only two words surfaced in his mind.
Of course, Senior Brother Ning was a man. However, all Xiaodong could think of were these two words.
Senior Brother Ning’s skin was pale white. Not the slightest hint of red to be seen. He had a skinny appearance, and on his entire face, all Xiaodong could see were his especially black brows and pupils. During such warm weather, he still wore a fur cloak. His cloak was especially thick. Rather than clothes, it looked like a thick and sturdy shell, covering the person within.
His tone was very gentle, and in front of him, Xiaodong even instinctively calmed his breathing. The person before him looked as if he was carved from ice and snow, and only his brows and eyes were made from smoke and thick ink. As the black and white contrasted against each other, the white parts became whiter and the black parts became darker. With just a single glance, one would not be able to shift their gaze away.
However, after taking another glance, Xiaodong did not know why, but he felt scared. He kept on feeling that this person was like glass encumbered upon by a load of snow.
“Hello, Senior Brother Ning.”
Senior Brother Ning smiled and responded as well, “Junior Brother Yun, hello.”
Standing at the side, Jiang Fan smiled and said, “Our Little Junior Brother has a shy personality, don’t randomly blurt out jokes, alright? You won’t be able to afford it if you end up scaring our Little Junior Brother.”
Senior Brother Ning smiled. Xiaodong smiled with him too.
“After receiving Spiritual Master Li’s letter, my master found out that Returnflow Mountain is facing some turbulent times, so I was told to run this errand to send a message.” Senior Brother Ning said, “I can stay for a few days this time. If you need me to help with anything, please do not feel too courteous to seek me out.”