During breakfast, Ning Yu chuckled heartily and asked, “Junior Brother Yun, have you read the books?”
Xiaodong paused, swallowed the biscuit in his mouth, and honestly replied, “I’ve only read a little.”
“No rush, take your time.” Ning Yu also understood that those words were hard to decipher. “Why don’t I find you after breakfast? I don’t have anything to do anyway, so I can explain to you if there’s anything you can’t figure out.”
“Then that settles it.” Ning Yu smiled as he made the decision on his own.
Xiaodong was left speechless as he ruthlessly gulped down a large bowl of porridge.
The meals on the mountain were especially bland. Sometimes, other than some sprinkles of salt, there wouldn’t even be much oil added. As strange as it might sound, recently, Xiaodong felt as if his love and desire for food had waned.
In the past, he was greedy for meat, especially crispy meatballs, and meat dishes cooked with thick red sauce and burnt ginger, like pig trotters, fat chicken, and huge ducks…
After he came up the mountain, Master and Eldest Senior Brother took care of him pretty well, and would often have the chefs cook some delicacies. However, in the recent months, he realized that the times he felt like eating those things had dwindled.
This was probably because he had taken his first step across the threshold of cultivation… He no longer cared that much about his appetite. Sometimes, after he completed a session of meditation, he would feel especially comfortable and not even the slightest bit hungry.
Mo Chen looked at Ning Yu with a smile, hinting that he should restrain his love of teasing people.
Ning Yu simply smiled back.
It was rare to encounter such a fun child after all. His own junior siblings were all sly folks, and their faces were incredibly thick. He would feel irritated whenever he saw them. They weren’t naive and innocent like Junior Brother Yun.
As he had said, Ning Yu quickly came over after the meal.
At first, Xiaodong had thought of avoiding him by finding something to do. However, after pondering for a moment, since he was a guest, Xiaodong had to do his best to fulfill his duty as a resident of this land, right? Not to mention it was a promise set during breakfast. It would be too inappropriate to avoid Ning Yu now.
Come then. Xiaodong even took out the tea leaves that Eldest Senior Brother had prepared and boiled them in spring water. It wouldn’t do to not have a pot of tea prepared while talking with a guest, right?
Ning Yu sniffed around the moment he entered the room. “You’re making tea?”
“It’s spring water from the mountains. I’m not sure if Senior Brother Ning can get used to it.”
“The water from your mountain is pretty good. It’s filled with spiritual energy.”
When the water bubbled, Xiaodong lifted the teapot and poured the tea into the cup. Ning Yu sat at the side and said with a smile, “Hey, Junior Brother Yun.”
“What is it?” Xiaodong responded nonchalantly.
“Why do I feel like you’re a little scared of me?”
Xiaodong’s hands trembled, and the tea splattered out a little. He placed down the teapot, wiped off the tea on the table, and said, slightly solemnly, “I’m not.”
“Then why does it look like you’re always trying to avoid me?” Ning Yu asked with a grin, “Is this senior brother not pleasing to your eyes? Or did I do something that displeased you? Junior Brother, you don’t have to stand on ceremony. Just speak whatever’s on your mind. If it’s my fault, I will correct myself and compensate Junior Brother.”
Xiaodong hurriedly waved his hands. “No, that’s not it. Senior Brother Ning, you’ve really misunderstood.”
He would indeed feel a little uncomfortable whenever he was in front of Ning Yu, but he couldn’t speak of the reason behind it.
Before Xiaodong could even think of an explanation, Ning Yu had already naturally changed the topic. “Which book are you reading now?”
Xiaodong wanted to flee from the current topic as quickly as possible, and hurriedly picked up a book from the desk. “This one.”
“Ou, this one is about arrays.” Varied types of books were in Ning Yu’s collection, and he did not really tidy up the ones he carried around. Among the few that he nonchalantly threw to Xiaodong previously, this book was squished within them.
Ning Yu was very interested in arrays, and had gathered quite a few books related to them. Though most of them did not contain much actual detail and consisted of rumors and legends, he carried the mentality of “what if one of them was real”. With that mentality, he did not throw a single book out and continued to carry them all on him.
“Why? Junior Brother Yun is also interested in this?”
Xiaodong honestly shook his head. “I don’t understand this even the slightest. I just saw that there were a lot of diagrams on it, so I picked it up and flipped through it.”
“Then what did you understand?”
Xiaodong scratched his ears, and replied embarrassingly, “Not a single thing.”
Ning Yu smiled and placed the book down.
“I don’t understand much about arrays either. This peerless art has long been lost. Among those in the outside world that claim they can set down arrays, a large half of them are all frauds. Those who can put down simple arrays all do it by following array diagrams left behind by former masters while making hundreds of mistakes.” Ning Yu shook his head. “They’re good enough to trick those who aren’t knowledgeable in the field, but when encountering someone knowledgeable, their arrays are completely useless.”
Xiaodong curiously asked, “Senior Brother Ning, then what about our Returnflow Mountain’s great mountain-protecting array? I heard from Eldest Senior Brother that this array has a deep history and is really incredible.”
“That’s natural. I heard from my master that when Spiritual Master Li was young, he obtained a secret manual regarding the inheritance of this array by coincidence. However, though he received the inheritance, the secret manual was damaged and incomplete. He was unclear about the history of this array, and the array diagram was incomplete too. So, even if the present array is incredible, it is unable to unleash its true potential.”
This was pretty similar to what Eldest Senior Brother described.
Master could not willingly accept this either. This was like standing guard next to a large treasure bowl. Even if he knew the bowl was filled with treasure, he could only look at it, unable to take any.
After drinking the tea, Xiaodong was afraid that Ning Yu would ask something that he couldn’t easily answer again, so, he lowered his head and began flipping through the book. Ning Yu sat at the side and habitually took out his compass again.
Xiaodong felt a little fearful the moment he saw the compass now. His heart just couldn’t feel at ease after the shock from that day.
Even now, he still could not understand why the compass pointed at him. It wasn’t appropriate for him to ask Ning Yu, and so he could only continue to read his book solemnly.
The book he was flipping through now was that especially old and tattered book. The pages were brittle, and Xiaodong did not dare to use too much strength on them, fearing that he might crumble the papers into pieces whenever he flipped the pages.
As he read on, he gradually forgot about someone being next to him.
At first, he did not feel that there was anything believable written in the book. However, Xiaodong grew absorbed as he continued.
Written in the book was the story of a scholar surnamed Cao who went to visit his relatives. He spent the night at a village in the countryside. During the night, he dreamt of a man being strangled to death in the very same room he was staying in. That man was buried in the ground underneath the bed. Because the dream was too shocking, when he woke up, the scholar had people move the bed and dig up the ground. As expected, a set of human bones were unearthed. The unfortunate death of this man had occurred tens of years ago, but it was only discovered then. Because of what the scholar had seen in the dream, they very quickly found the murderer, who had lusted over the deceased’s fortune.
XIaodong’s heart shook.
The story spoke of a dream… Though it was a little different from his own circumstances.
He could record this and have Eldest Senior Brother look at it later.
He flipped even further down, and it was a story of a girl. When she was saved after being close to drowning, she was unconscious for three days. When she woke up, she said that she had visited her old home several hundreds of kilometers away and met her old relatives while she was unconscious. Everyone didn’t believe her. However, when her old folks visited during the new year, they actually said that they had indeed seen this girl return in those few days. They had even eaten and chatted. For a moment, everyone was flabbergasted as they exchanged glances.