Records of the Dragon Follower
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 16: Old Acquaintance
Though the snow had stopped, the mountain was still covered with heavy mist. It looked as if Returnflow Mountain was enveloped in clouds. Xiaodong leaned on the window frame and looked in the direction of Sword Conferring Peak. Naturally, he couldn’t see anything.
After a short chat, Senior Brother Jiang stood up. “Eldest Senior Brother won’t be here for the next few days, so he entrusted me with the task of re-applying Junior Brother Chen’s medicine. I’m going to head over now, want to come with?”
“Let’s go together.” Xiaodong hurriedly got up. “I’m going with Senior Brother. Speaking of which, just how did Senior Brother Chen get injured?”
“He said that he was careless and slipped on the road when it was dark.” Jiang Fan kept the medicine and brought Little Junior Brother out.
Xiaodong counted the days in his mind. Senior Brother Chen most likely got injured on the day he gave Xiaodong his gauntlets. The sky was indeed turning dark when he left, not to mention the winds were so strong and it was still snowing too.
Jiang Fan turned his head and saw Xiaodong’s head was drooped down. He looked as dejected as a piece of shriveled bok choy.
“Little Junior Brother? What’s wrong?”
Xiaodong didn’t feel great at all. “If Senior Brother Chen didn’t look for me that day, he might not have gotten injured…”
Jiang Fan had been wondering what the problem was. The moment he heard that Xiaodong was worried about something like that, he found it both ridiculous and hilarious.
“Don’t come up with such ideas. Junior Brother Chen isn’t like you, you know? With his martial prowess, this little bit of wind and snow is basically nothing to him. He said it himself too, that his injury was due to his own carelessness. You’re not at fault at all.”
Though Senior Brother Jiang put it that way, Xiaodong still couldn’t feel at ease.
When they arrived at the doorsteps of Chen Jingzhi’s residence, they heard people talking inside. Senior Brother Jiang was a little surprised as he called out from outside, “Is Junior Brother Chen here?”
Chen Jingzhi dragged his injured leg and came out to welcome them. The person behind him was not someone they were unfamiliar with either. She was Senior Sister Lin Yan who came along with Senior Liu.
They were discussing their age the other day, and Lin Yan was a year older than Jiang Fan. Compared to her, Senior Sister Linglong was a brute who did not seem the least bit lady-like. Of course, their looks were not factored in. When it came to looks, Senior Sister Linglong could not be considered ugly, but she was always wearing coarse-looking clothes, and the way her hair was tied was not even as neat as Xiaodong’s. Now, looking at Lin Yan, her brows were obviously trimmed, a thin layer of powder was applied on her face, and she paid attention to the way she was dressed. Even her voice was gentle and soft. In Jiang Fan’s opinion, this was how a lady should look. With Linglong’s personality of smacking tables and smashing stools the moment they disagreed on things, would anyone believe she was a lady? She was a man reincarnated into a woman’s body.
Xiaodong however did not like Senior Sister Lin that much. As for the reason? He couldn’t put it into words. It was probably due to the aromatic scent from Senior Sister Lin’s body that was too strange and thick, which made it hard for Xiaodong to breathe next to her. However, she was a guest that came from far away, he couldn’t possibly cover his nose with his hands, right?
After greeting the both of them with a smile, she said, “Then, Junior Brother Chen, rest well. I’m going to return now.”
She was fortunately about to leave, or Xiaodong’s nose would have to suffer again. When Lin Yan walked past them, she carried along an aromatic breeze. Xiaodong quietly held his breath, and he only breathed out heavily after she had gone far away. Then, along with Senior Brother Jiang, they held Chen Jingzhi as they walked into the room.
“Your leg is still injured, so forget about these courtesies of welcoming and seeing people off already.” Senior Brother Jiang sat him down and then pulled out the medicine bottle he brought. “Come, roll up your pants and let me see how the injury is now.”
Chen Jingzhi softly said, “My injury is already much better. Senior Brother, you can stop coming over now. I have the medicinal ointment here too, so it’s fine if I re-apply it myself.”
Jiang Fan said that this was a bad habit that Junior Brother Chen had. Just like Little Junior Brother when he first came here, Junior Brother Chen was too courteous. He didn’t like to tell others about his own troubles. Why the need to hide such things among martial siblings? And why the need to be courteous between them? Of course, etiquette is a must, but going overboard would make it seem you as though were pushing others thousands of miles away. Given how he was injured right now, it went without saying that the senior brothers should take care of him. All he could think of was not troubling others, but he had never thought that it was natural for martial siblings to take care of each other.
When Little Junior Brother was sick previously, his senior brothers and senior sister took turns to take care of him. After that, he gradually opened up and grew closer with everyone. He began to talk, smile, and grow to be loved by others.
However, Junior Brother Chen was troublesome. He was stubborn and had heavy thoughts in his mind. He wouldn’t listen no matter how much they tried to persuade him.
Chen Jingzhi was recovering very quickly after using the medicine Mo Chen gave him. The wound seemed like it had already healed. Jiang Fan re-applied the medicinal ointment that he brought and then wrapped his leg properly. “Your leg will be fine after re-applying the medicine about two more times. It’s too bad that even though we have guests these few days, you have to refrain from eating the good dishes and also from drinking liquor.”
Xiaodong was silent the entire time as he watched from the side. Now that there was spare time, he asked, “Senior Brother Chen, is your leg in great pain?”
“It doesn’t hurt anymore,” Chen Jingzhi said. When he saw that Little Junior Brother was showing a little depressed look, he pondered for a moment. Thinking Little Junior Brother wouldn’t believe him, he added, “It won’t hurt that much as long as I don’t move. It does ache a little when I walk.”
Jiang Fan then lectured him, “That’s why I’m telling you to move less. Oh right, why was Senior Sister Lin here?”
Chen Jingzhi paused for a moment, and then replied, “I met her before in the past. She knows about the injury on my leg, so she was here to give me some medicine.”
“You two know each other? How? Do you two have a good relationship?” Let alone Jiang Fan, even Xiaodong was looking at Chen Jingzhi curiously.
“That was before I came to Returnflow Mountain, and we’re merely acquainted with each other. After such a long time, I couldn’t even recognize her. Though, she did remember me.”
When Jiang Fan heard that it was something that happened before he came under Master’s tutelage, he didn’t probe any further. Junior Brother Chen had almost never talked about things before he came to Returnflow Mountain, and he had never brought up a single word about the Chen Family either. Jiang Fan understood his troubles. As the saying goes, one shouldn’t wash their dirty linen in public. These were Chen Family’s private matters. After Junior Brother Chen lost his mother, he must have suffered at the hands of his stepmother. It was best that he forget about such matters, so there wasn’t a need to probe deeper into his past.
Jiang Fan had wanted to tease Chen Jingzhi a little. However, the moment he saw that overly serious expression that looked as if he had many things on his mind, his interest had completely waned. He recalled a time when he, Eldest Senior Brother and Fourth Junior Brother sat together for a conversation after a tiring martial arts practice. Back then, Little Junior Brother was not even on the mountain yet. It was most likely something that happened in the spring of last year. As someone that liked to tell jokes, Jiang Fan told the two of them a fresh new joke, but in the end, there wasn’t a single positive reaction from the two of them at all. Eldest Senior Brother looked at the sky expressionlessly, while Junior Brother Chen was holding his sword tightly with his mind set on revenge. With no reaction for Jiang Fan’s fresh new joke, he let out two dry laughs and couldn’t laugh anymore after that.
He turned his head around. Little Junior Brother was still the best. Everything could be seen on his face, and he would speak his thoughts. His straightforwardness was so refreshing.
Junior Brother Chen was different from the rest of them. Along with Little Junior Brother, they no longer had any relatives or homes to return to. Junior Brother Chen was different. Even though he was physically here, his heart was not. Even if he didn’t say it himself, Jiang Fan could faintly guess that Junior Brother Chen would leave one day. The people of the Chen Family were his relatives and also his targets of revenge. He was definitely going to return one day.