Records of the Dragon Follower
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 61: Piecing the Puzzle
Ning Yu nodded and did not probe further.
The dishes had already been set.
Usually, the three meals on Returnflow Mountain all happened at designated times. If anyone were to miss the designated times, the chefs would not heat up the dishes anymore, and those people would have to starve. The things eaten on the mountain were also rather simple, with vegetables and fruits as the core ingredients. Most of these ingredients were all planted and raised on the mountain. Now that there was a guest, the meals prepared had to be a little more sumptuous than before. As the saying goes, “If you’re near the mountain, eat off the mountain.” Returnflow Mountain did not have much, but it did have a considerable amount of mountain treasures.
Though, it seemed like they wanted to tend the esteemed guest really well, as the dishes tonight were all on the salty side. Even the radish soup that was served last was salty. Ning Yu said without the slightest hint of being ceremonious, “What’s wrong with the chef today? Is salt cheap now?”
Jiang Fan felt the same. “I will speak with the chef later.”
Mo Chen did not say anything and simply poured everyone huge cups of water. They had to first deal with this meal for now.
Xiaodong did not raise his head the entire time, as he quietly shoved the rice into his mouth.
Ning Yu did not find Xiaodong’s behavior unusual. The two of them were unfamiliar in the first place, and he simply thought that Xiaodong was being shy because there was an outsider around.
Actually, Xiaodong had peeked at Ning Yu two to three times already. The moment he entered the room, Xiaodong had quickly gave him a glance.
When Ning Yu lowered his head to eat his meal and drink his soup, Xiaodong took the opportunity to steal some glances again.
It seemed like Senior Brother Ning indeed did not see him in the afternoon.
Xiaodong quietly heaved a sigh of relief.
After slowly pouring water into everyone’s cups, Mo Chen then began to finish the dishes.
He did not feel relaxed in the slightest.
Little Junior Brother’s previous dreamscapes were different from the most recent one.
The matter of Jiang Fan losing his oil box was fine. The times on Sword Conferring Peak were alright too. All of these happened in the day, while Xiaodong dreamt of them at night. There were several hours between the dreams and the incidents themselves. However, the case with Ning Yu was different. When Ning Yu was standing on the stone tower, Xiaodong was dreaming, and that was why Ning Yu’s compass could discover him.
What about next time then? Would there be anything different from the dream this time?
Because of these heavy matters at heart, in the beginning, Mo Chen did not taste the salt in the dishes. He was not even aware of what he was eating. It was only when Ning Yu and Jiang Fan spoke up about the issue did he realize that the dishes today were indeed much saltier than usual.
Seeing that Little Junior Brother was not even lifting up his head, Mo Chen softly reminded him, “If it’s too salty, don’t eat.”
People would definitely feel thirsty at night if they ate salty food.
When they were to head back later, he had to find a few fruits to help satisfy his stomach.
The night lights on the mountain were all scattered like the stars, making the scene look extremely lonely.
Zheng Huilin brought the dishes in and then called out in the room, “Senior Brother Di, please eat.”
Di Wenhui responded in acknowledgement and walked out of the room. Receiving the bowl and chopsticks from Zheng Huilin’s hands, he then helped tidy up the table a little. The two then sat down and ate.
Zheng Huilin was a person of few words, and Di Wenhui was the same. Among the compounds that the outer sect disciples were situated in, theirs was the quietest. After dinner, Zheng Huilin placed the bowls and chopsticks on the tray, and put them outside. The attendants at the kitchen would come and take them away later.
After having their meals, the two of them went back to their respective tasks. Zheng Huilin meditated while Di Wenhui headed out for sword practice. When he came back from the practice grounds, he even encountered Mo Chen and Xiaodong.
This wasn’t the least bit unexpected.
Little Junior Brother was like Eldest Senior Brother’s tail. As long as they saw Eldest Senior Brother, they would also see Little Junior Brother following him about eight out of ten times.
Xiaodong did not know why, but whenever he saw Di Wenhui, he would feel a little nervous. Knowing Senior Brother Di’s secret felt like he had done something to be guilty of.
After Senior Brother Di had walked far away, Mo Chen glanced at Xiaodong meaningfully.
He had sensed Xiaodong’s anomaly earlier.
Xiaodong hurriedly responded in acknowledgement and caught up to Mo Chen’s pace. The night was dark and the road was uneven. Xiaodong reached out to grab Mo Chen’s sleeves. In the beginning he did such things a little sneakily, but he gradually grew more courageous and did it more openly.
Mo Chen sent Xiaodong to the door of the compound and instructed him, “Don’t run off by yourself, and revise on the heart cultivation mantra twice. If you’re not full after the dinner, there are still dates and dried persimmons. There are also pastries, so help yourself.”
“I know.” Xiaodong obediently nodded and said, “Senior Brother, come back early.”
Mo CHen nodded seriously too and promised, “I know.”
After settling this matter, he then turned around and headed to the guest room to look for Ning Yu.
XIaodong held onto the door and looked into the distance. Only when he couldn’t see Mo Chen’s figure did he finally close the compound’s door. The moon rose, shining a cool light down onto the ground.
Mo Chen and Ning Yu had known each other for more than a decade. As Spiritual Master Li and Spiritual Master Hu knew one another and would see each other often, when Mo Chen first met Ning Yu, he was about eight to nine years old? He was even younger than the present Little Junior Brother. The younger Ning Yu’s body had been even worse than it was presently. Eight out of ten days, he would be lying in bed, and his body would always have a scent of medicine.
Ning Yu back then still did not like to talk.
The relationship between Mo Chen and Ning Yu did not start off well, but to give Spiritual Master Hu face, Mo Chen would always treat him courteously. After that, Ning Yu’s body became better than before and he grew happier too. Only then did the two finally begin to get to know each other better.
Ning Yu clearly had something on his mind. Mo Chen could see that.
It might be related to Xiaodong. This was not hard to guess either.
Mo Chen lightly knocked on the door, and from within the room, Ning Yu said with a slightly raised voice, “Come in.”
Ning Yu was currently tidying up those papers that he drew on earlier. Seeing Mo Chen enter, he felt as if a helper had come in at the right time. “Come come, help me out a little.”
Mo Chen, receiving a stack of papers, looked a little dumbfounded.
“Just help me lay them on the ground according to the order written on the papers.” Ning Yu explained further, “It’s based on my memory of when I was testing the spiritual pulse with the compass in the afternoon. Returnflow Mountain has such a pure and dense spiritual pulse below it, yet the spiritual energy on the mountain is so scarce.”
In Ning Yu’s eyes, if Returnflow Mountain’s spiritual pulse could be likened to a large jar of oil, then what he could sense standing on the mountain was but an oil slick on the surface of the water.
Mo Chen helped Ning Yu arrange the papers on the ground. Fortunately, the room was spacious enough, otherwise it wouldn’t have been possible to lay out the dozens of papers.
Earlier he couldn’t understand anything when they were scattered, but now that the papers were pieced together according to their order, Mo Chen realized these curvy ink lines were, as expected, not drawn willy-nilly. After they were arranged properly, Mo Chen realized that the ink lines had all connected up, forming an enormous and complete diagram of a scattered spiritual pulse.
Ning Yu placed the final paper next to his feet. When he raised his head, his vision darkened and he began to stagger. If not because Mo Chen was quick to hold him up, Ning Yu would have already fallen onto the ground head-first.
“Be careful, don’t strain yourself.”
“It’s not straining, I know my limits.” Though his body was frail, Ning Yu was currently full of spirit. His two eyes were shining bright, and he clearly had no intention of resting.
“Look at this.” Standing at the center of the room filled with papers, Ning Yu took out the compass. “In the afternoon, I was at the stone tower. Mn, it’s this position over here.”