Xiaodong was faintly aware that he was in a dream.
Many people occasionally experience this. They suddenly become conscious and realize they were dreaming. If they are good dreams, they will likely want to stay for a little while longer. On the other hand, if they are nightmares, they will want to wake up as soon as possible.
However, no matter if the dreams are good or bad, most people often wake up very quickly. Then, a short while after, in probably just a few breaths of time, they will forget more than half of what their dreams were about. What remains are just specks of melancholy.
However, Xiaodong experienced something a little different than others.
Whenever he faintly realized he was in a dream, he would not immediately wake up. On the contrary, he would stay in this dream for a long time. Furthermore, after waking up, he would still remember many of the experiences he gained in that particular dream.
The dreams would sometimes be really interesting, but most of his dreamscapes were completely chaotic and especially long-drawn. They were dreams that would make him extremely unhappy.
This dream however…
Xiaodong recognized that he was on Returnflow Mountain.
He was presently standing on the training platform, watching his senior brothers and senior sister doing their morning practice.
Just like all people in dreams, he did not have a physical body, nor did he have any mass. Nothing in the dream could obstruct his movements. Furthermore, he could swiftly fly up and down, and head to places just by thinking about them.
For example, he was currently sticking to Eldest Senior Brother’s shoulder. If he had a physical body and could be seen by others, his current posture would most likely look as if he was sitting on Eldest Senior Brother’s shoulder.
Given how close he was to Eldest Senior Brother, it looked as if he was about to make contact with Eldest Senior Brother’s face. Eldest Senior Brother was truly born with nice genes. Even after being so close to his face, Xiaodong could not find any sweat pores or stubble.
Heheh. Eldest Senior Brother was so good looking, and Xiaodong wondered just what kind of wife he was going to bring back to them in the future.
Though, it was possible that he wasn’t going to get a wife of his own. Master was a Daoist, and he did not wed even once in his entire life. If Eldest Senior Brother was going to take over Master’s Sect Master position in the future, then there was a big possibility that he wouldn’t wed as well.
How about Xiaodong himself? Should he find a wedding partner? Xiaodong’s mind was even more scattered and nimble than it usually was if he was awake.
If he were to wed and have children, then his uncle would definitely be happy.
Haah, why was he thinking so far ahead? He was still young. On Returnflow Mountain, he was the youngest among them. Even if he wanted to ponder this huge matter of his life, he had to queue behind his senior brothers and senior sister.
Xiaodong did not realize that by thinking this way, he had already seen himself as a member of Returnflow Mountain, and not an orphan who had no one to rely on.
He wondered if Master was in his dream.
He most likely wasn’t.
Xiaodong once again went over to watch his senior brothers and senior sister practice. Senior Brother Jiang usually carried a slothful demeanor, but he was actually really serious when it came to training. Eyes focused and actions firm, it could be seen that every single one of his moves was dished out seriously, and that he was not practicing just to get it over with.
Then, there was Senior Brother Chen.
Xiaodong did not notice it before, but Senior Brother Chen’s expression looked a little frightening while training.
His eyes looked rather hollow, as though he was in a trance.
No, that wasn’t it. He wasn’t in a trance. He seemed like he was focused on an enemy in his mind. That person was not right before his eyes, but Senior Brother Chen looked as if he had already engraved that person in his mind. Every move he dished out was filled with astonishingly ruthless killing intent.
Seeing his senior brother like this, instead of being curious like he was before, Xiaodong felt a little fearful.
A faint feeling of fear grew in his heart as he looked at Senior Brother Chen’s desperate attitude.
He did not stay next to Senior Brother Chen for too long. Instead, Xiaodong returned to face Eldest Senior Brother. He attentively watched every single move Eldest Senior Brother dished out, along with the coordination between his actions and his breathing rhythm.
It was usually rare to see Eldest Senior Brother demonstrate the complete set of sword techniques. Furthermore… During the previous times he demonstrated, they were not as clear as they were now. It was as if his observation skill was multiplied in his mind. He was able to clearly understand every single detail of the techniques, and he could comprehend even more in his dream.
After Eldest Senior Brother finished practicing his sword techniques, he and Senior Sister began to talk as they walked back. Senior Brother Jiang was following behind them, wiping his sweat with a towel as he walked. After taking two big steps, he caught up to the two in front of him and asked Mo Chen, “Eldest Senior Brother. Little Junior Brother’s illness still isn’t cured. Should we get someone to cook something easily digestible and nourishing?”
“That’s right, that’s right. He must eat something good.” Senior Sister Linglong chimed in. “I have bird’s nest over at my place. I heard eating it is great for the body?”
She couldn’t recall who gifted her the bird’s nest and she didn’t have any thoughts of eating it back then either. So, she stuffed in her cabinet and had ignored it till now.
Eldest Senior Brother said, “Keep the bird’s nest for yourself. I have some autumn pear paste that I brought back from my trip outside, stored at my place. It’s made with freshly picked herbs, and it’s suitable for treating Little Junior Brother’s illness with. I will send it over to him when I get back. In any case, that has a pretty sweet taste, so it can be eaten as a snack.”
Senior Brother Jiang nodded as he teased, “Senior Brother, that’s something you actually bought for yourself, right? I recall that during past winters, your throat would easily get sore and you would cough a lot, and so you would always eat sweet and chilly things. For Little Junior Brother, you’re going to endure the pain of sacrificing your beloved this time, huh?”
Autumn pear paste?
Xiaodong recalled the food that Senior Brother fed him with a few days ago, when he was still nursing his illness. Back then, he didn’t say anything. He had thought that it was just medicine and it had to be taken. Though, It indeed tasted pretty good. It had the scent of herbal incense, yet it was sweet and chilly. When he ate it, even his throat and stomach felt comfortable.
Was that the autumn pear paste his Senior Brothers were talking about?
However… Could everything that happened in the dream be taken as real? Back then, he had never heard of the term ‘autumn pear paste’, but was it really possible for him to suddenly dream of it?
He could ask his Senior Brother after getting up. Most likely, the name of the medicine he heard in his dream was just something he made up, and the thing that Senior Brother fed him was not actually called autumn pear paste.
The dreamscape once again changed. This time, he was at the compound where Master lived.
Xiaodong had only come to this compound a few times, and he had never seen these buildings at the back. However, he was currently following behind Eldest Senior Brother and entered the place with him.
This was a place that he had never entered before, however in this dream, everything looked clear and real. The room was filled with books. Various kinds of books filled the many rows of bookshelves. The bookshelves were not made of regular wood, but rather, they looked as if they were made of stone. Eldest Senior Brother did not stop there. He continued onwards to a wall at the very back of the building, and then twisted a carving that was protruding out of the very edge of a bookshelf. The bookshelf actually split open from the center, revealing a narrow slit that could only fit a single person. Eldest Senior Brother turned around and then walked into the narrow slit.
Xiaodong widened his eyes in surprise – if he could widen his eyes in his dream.
However, his shock did not stop him from moving. Xiaodong hurriedly followed after Eldest Senior Brother, afraid that he would be shut outside if he was a step late.
The place inside was rather dark. Eldest Senior Brother pulled out a fluorite to light his path. Xiaodong’s uncle possessed such fluorites in the past as well, so he knew what it was. People sometimes called it Rock Spirit. It wasn’t too expensive, but it was still something that could be simply bought on the streets.
They continued to walk down the narrow path. This building was built leaning against a mountain, so this path was digging into the mountain itself.
Eldest Senior Brother entered a stone room. It looked like a place that stored things, as there were shelves and cabinets here. Eldest Senior Brother pulled out a box of considerable size and placed it on top of a cabinet. He then checked the other things that were placed on the cabinet. It seemed like he was checking if anything had gone missing. After completing his checks, he then walked back the same way and reverted the hidden door back to its original state.
So it was really just a place used to store things. Xiaodong felt like he was excited for nothing.
Many families had such places used to store things as well. Even commoners would dig out a cellar to store vegetables and grains. After all, there would always be things that shouldn’t be placed out in the open. There would always be some gold or expensive things that people were afraid to lose and were best left hidden. Even his uncle’s former home had a small hole used to store items.
However, this dream sure was meticulous. He wondered if the Returnflow Mountain in reality had such a secret room as well.
If given the opportunity, he should take a look. After all, it might turn out to be true.
On the second day, without exception, all of them woke up late. After all, they went to sleep late and had liquor as well. When they woke up, the sky was already bright. The sun was already up high in the sky. They had slept through their morning practice.
Jiang Fan scratched his head and sighed, “Liquor sure delays work. However, Master’s liquor sure is good liquor. Even after drinking so much, my head doesn’t hurt and my mouth doesn’t feel dry either. Senior Brother, what about you?”
Mo Chen carried a slightly dazed look.
He had actually slept so much?
This was actually unprecedented for him.
Ever since he was young, he was extremely disciplined. Since he first began to practice martial arts, he had never slacked off once. No matter if it was during a storm or when he was ill, he had never been this greedy with sleep like today.
As Junior Brother Jiang had said, liquor sure delays work.
He then looked at his two junior brothers next to him who had yet to wake up. One was wrapped in a blanket like a worm, the other had his limbs all spread out as if he was a piece of dried meat let out to dry. However, he suddenly felt like an occasional delay like this did not feel bad.
“Don’t wake them up, let them sleep a little more.”
In any case, such a day was hard to come by in a year.
Just as he spoke up, Xiaodong woke up as well.
He blinked his eyes, for a moment, he did not realize where he’d fallen asleep. When he saw his senior brothers next to him, he slowly regained his senses. Memories of last night slowly began to return as well.
In the end, he recalled that he had taken a sip of the liquor. The liquor was pretty good, though, the moment he finished drinking it, he couldn’t remember anything else.
It seemed like he had gotten drunk?
“Are you awake now?” Eldest Senior Brother was currently tying his clothing belt as he asked with a smile.
This was the first time Xiaodong had seen Eldest Senior Brother like this… His clothes were untidy, and even his expression was more relaxed than usual.
“It had gotten too late last night, so we did not send you two back and instead, all of us were sleeping over here at Junior Brother Jiang’s place. Are you going to wash up here, or are you going to do it in your own room?”
“Uh, over here then.”
Earlier, he saw Eldest Senior Brother when he opened his eyes for the first time, and he was so close. For a moment, Xiaodong thought that he was still in the dreamscape and had yet to wake up.
He once again blinked his eyes. He was indeed not dreaming right now. He had really woke up this time.
His hair was curled and was a mess. It looked as if there was a bird’s nest on his head. His sleepy look was rather cute.
Mo Chen could not resist as he reached out his hand to stroke Xiaodong’s head.
Wuu, the feeling from stroking his hair felt as good as Mo Chen had thought it would be.
Xiaodong had yet to wake up entirely, and he couldn’t be bothered to retaliate against the constant stroking. He watched on as a pair of large and round eyes stared at him, as if he was a newborn kitten ignorant of the world.