The day after the herbal bath, Xiaodong felt feeble and dry, like herbal remnants that had been thrown away after being heated up and used. Even his hair was still emitting that sour herbal scent.
When he woke up in the morning, Xiaodong’s legs wobbled and he nearly fell flat onto the mud and soil. During breakfast, he felt like even his teeth had turned soft from the bath, as he could not even bite off a steamed biscuit.
Xiaodong silently looked at the steamed biscuit covered in a circular bite mark.
Was the biscuit today too tough?
Evidently, the biscuit was the same as usual. The problem was himself.
If he were to put down the biscuit and instead go for congee… What should he do about that round teeth mark? He had already bitten it, how was anyone else going to eat it?
Xiaodong planned to hide this particular biscuit. What was he going to do after hiding it? He still had yet to ponder this problem. It would be a waste to destroy the evidence, but he had already ruined it. Having experienced the drifting life of a wanderer, Xiaodong did not want to waste food in the slightest. Should he leave it later to eat then? Then where should he hide the biscuit?
Just as he was troubled by this, Mo Chen reached out and took away the biscuit from Xiaodong’s hand. Mo Chen then placed a bowl of congee in front of Xiaodong. “Eat this, it’s better for your digestion.”
Seeing Eldest Senior Brother eat that biscuit without minding in the slightest, Xiaodong scratched his head, raised the bowl up and obediently drank the congee.
There he was thinking that his intentions were incredibly secretive, but actually, the others sitting around the table had clearly seen that frustrated look of his.
If Eldest Senior Brother had not made a move, Jiang Fan would have snatched away that biscuit and destroyed it himself. It was just a biscuit after all, did he have to be so frustrated over it? The fact that Little Junior Brother was currently soaking in herbal baths was known to everyone. Even those who didn’t know would understand the moment they smelled the scent from his body. Though it was said that herbal baths were beneficial, one had to suffer a little in the process. That feeling… was something people who had soaked in one before would understand.
Jiang Fan gulped down his own bowl of congee and casually said, “It hasn’t rained even once since the start of spring this year. I hear from the people on the mountain that the earth this year might produce a poor harvest.”
Mo Chen asked, “Is the drought really serious?”
“The situation on Returnflow Mountain is still fine, as it does have two riverstreams beside it. People can still head there even if it doesn’t rain. I hear that places that are just a little further away are in disastrous shape. The earth has all dried up.” Jiang Fan shook his head. “The weather this year is a little strange.”
Speaking of which, Ning Yu had sensed this as well. “Indeed. In fact, the weather last year was already a little strange. There were even esteemed guests who came to Heavenly Secrets Mountain especially to have Master predict the weather. While I was on my way to Returnflow Mountain, I did indeed pass through several places. I saw that the farmlands were all dried up.”
On the present topic, Xiaodong could not speak up at all. With the state he was in, even his martial arts practice was affected, so after eating, he went right back to his room to meditate.
He wondered if it was because of the incredibly miserable process from the bath last night, or if it was because he didn’t get a good sleep during the night – either way, Xiaodong became lazy after a short while. The sunlight outside was so bright, it was hard for him to look straight at it with his eyes wide open. If he didn’t sleep in such weather, he felt like he would be letting his youth down.
Xiaodong stuffed himself right into dreamland.
After a few months, Xiaodong had once again entered that unordinary dreamscape.
He felt like he was standing somewhere high up, and he was looking at the calm and peaceful Returnflow Mountain under bright sunlight.
Xiaodong was a little ashamed. If they had to talk about real capabilities, then he was most likely among the outstanding few… of the worst. The talents of these outer sect disciples were all better than his. They were also especially diligent, always hardworking, and would never be lazy for even a single moment. As someone who could fall asleep during meditation, how could Xiaodong not feel ashamed?
He felt like he would really disappoint Master and Eldest Senior Brother if he lazed around like this.
Eldest Senior Brother often consoled him, telling him that there wasn’t a need to rush. However, Xiaodong did not know when he could ever be enlightened.
Maybe he really wasn’t cut out for this. He was definitely never going to achieve great success his entire life.
Ning Yu was standing on a stone tower while holding onto a black compass. His brows were currently furrowed as he drew in the air while facing the faraway mountains. Xiaodong curiously approached him. Xiaodong kept feeling that this Senior Brother Ning Yu from Heavenly Secrets Mountain seemed like those people that claimed to be psychics on the streets, and so Xiaodong could not fully believe his words.
The engraved characters on the compass were curvy, and Xiaodong could not recognize even one of them. The inner panel was circulating slowly, while the needle at the center revolved as well.
With a “klack”, the inner panel and needle stopped at the same time. Ning Yu suddenly looked up and looked straight in Xiaodong’s direction.
He knew that he was simply in a dream, but Xiaodong was startled by his action. Though Ning Yu, with his pale white face, looked sickly, his gaze was lightning sharp and his expression was stern, exuding an incredibly powerful aura.
He was in a dream, and the people in the dream could not see him.
Though he understood this in his heart, Xiaodong did not dare to approach Ning Yu again.
Di Wenhui hurriedly passed through the bottom of the stone tower. Looking at the direction he was heading, he should be going to the back of the mountain. Xiaodong’s heart stirred and he curiously followed.
Senior Sister Linglong was still in seclusion, so even if Senior Brother Di headed over, he wouldn’t be able to see her.
Then what was he going to do there?
Di Wenhui was moving very quickly. He passed the mountain slope and only stopped right before the stone door of the seclusion cave.
Senior Sister Linglong’s seclusion had yet to end, so the door could not be opened from the outside. When separated by such a door, even if someone were to shout his lungs out from the outside, the people inside would not be able to hear.
Senior Brother Di did not say anything as he stood there. Just like that, he stood dazed in front of the stone door. Xiaodong was still young, so he did not understand the concept of lingering love. However, when he saw Senior Brother Di stand there alone and unmoving, Xiaodong felt sad for him.
After standing there for a good while, Senior Brother Di finally turned around and left. However, different from the time he came, Xiaodong felt that his steps were not as light and quick, as if he were a little unwilling to leave.
He made this trip intentionally, yet he was unable to see nor talk to Senior Sister. Furthermore, Senior Sister would never know that he was here.
Then what was his reason for coming here?
Since Senior Brother Di had already left, Xiaodong also began to return. He did not have a corporeal body nor any sense of weight in his dream. He was as light as the wind, and he was enjoying how free he was.
The sun began to set and dusk closed in. Senior Brother Di increased his pace and soared through the air, leaping down from the top of the slope. His sleeves fluttered like a bird spreading its wings.
Xiaodong leapt down from the top of a mountain boulder too, but unfortunately, he did not have the capabilities to control his posture. His vision began to spin, and he struck, head-on, a thorny bush below the slope.
Shocked by this, Xiaodong retreated from the dreamscape in huge sweat.
He wheezed and panted, and when he opened his eyes, he saw that Eldest Senior Brother was standing next to the bed.
“What’s wrong? Did you have a nightmare?”