Chapter 43: Returning to the Mountain
Eight days later, Qin Lie, Ling Yushi, and the rest, finally arrived at Herb Mountain. Seeing the familiar caves dotted across Herb Mountain, everyone was filled with joy.
“We have finally returned home,” laughingly said Ling Xiao. Touching the bulging cloth bag on his body, his eyes flashed with light as he said, “Although it hasn’t even been a month since I left Ling Town, this trip was just too dangerous and thrilling. It feels as if a long time has passed. Fortunately… we were able to avoid great disaster and instead gained great rewards, haha!”
“For us to survive through the sinister plot of the Feng Family and Shattered Ice Manor and their wild goose chase is indeed a miracle,” said Ling Feng, looking deeply at Qin Lie. Smiling, he continued, “We were even able to gain a decent number of both spirit stones and spirit materials and were able to make contributions towards Nebula Pavilion as well. Mn, this recent chain of events was indeed quite the thrill ride.”
Everyone similarly looked at Qin Lie as well.
Everyone’s hearts brightened. If not for Qin Lie’s numerous and shocking performances, the Ling Family members which had gone on this trip would have been beyond redemption — the men would have died and Ling Yushi and Ling Ying would have had to suffer tragic fates that would have probably been worse than death.
Even Liu Yan and the Gao Family members would not have escaped death. They would have all died together.
“Qin Lie, in the future when you are within Ling Town, are you still going to act the fool?” smilingly asked Ling Yushi, pursing her lips.
They were almost about to reach Ling Town; because of that, last night, Ling Yushi had changed from her practitioner attire into a light green robe. A floral pattern was sewn into the robe with blue crystals hanging from its corners. The robe gave her a noble beauty, and along with the ambient light within her beautiful eyes, she seemed bright and beautiful.
During this trip, not only had the Ling Family gained many spirit stones and spirit materials, they also made contributions towards Nebula Pavilion and gained the goodwill of Liu Yan. Even the issue that had constantly plagued her for a long time had been gotten rid of.
—Not only was her fiance not a fool, he was both outstanding and extraordinary and had constantly protected her.
Her worries were no more, and in turn she had gained things she could be happy about. This caused her to feel exuberant, so a faint smile constantly stayed on her face which gave her a radiant look.
Lately, everyone had noticed that the relationship between Qin Lie and Ling Yushi had become increasingly close. Upon hearing Ling Yushi teasing Qin Lie, they all began to laugh and look at Qin Lie.
“I wasn’t acting as a fool, I was only in a cultivating state. In the future, I might also be like that, so don’t be too shocked,” said Qin Lie, bitterly laughing. He reluctantly explained, “So in the future, when you see me in Ling Town and I’m like that, there is no need to act like it’s weird. Mn, I cultivate in that state, that is just the way it is.”
“It’s not weird, it’s not weird. Hehe, anything you do in the future will not be considered weird.” Ling Xiao boisterously laughed. “You were even able to repair Liu Yan’s Common Grade Five spirit artifact. You are even better than your grandpa in the past. What else can we find weird in the future? If there are too many weird things, nothing is weird anymore…”
As he said these words, everyone began to laugh uncontrollably. Indeed, Qin Lie had done so many weird things that they had gradually begun to get used to them.
“Forget it, I’m not going to keep talking with you all. I’m going to make a trip to Herb Mountain first to drop off the fire crystals. In a bit, I will go into town and eat a normal warm meal. You guys go first, there’s no need to wait for me. I will be there in a while,” said Qin Lie, chuckling.
“I will return with you,” said Ling Yushi with a serene smile. Naturally, she continued, “It has almost been a month since we left, so there is no rush at the moment. Go, I will simply wait here for a while.”
“We’re also not in a rush so we’ll just wait here for you,” said Ling Xiao with a great sense of obligation.
Ling Xin glared at him saying, “Idiot, First Miss wanted to walk home alone with Qin Lie. This guy really is stupid!”
After these words, everyone sobered up. All of them began to quietly laugh as they teasingly stared at the two of them.
Ling Yushi felt a little embarrassed and annoyed as her face slightly turned red. She snappily said, “As always, you sure have a lot to say!”
Ling Xin wasn’t angry at all. Scratching his head, he awkwardly and foolishly laughed twice, “First Miss, please forgive my mistake. I was wrong, I said it too loudly…”
Qin Lie was speechless. Within his heart, a slight warmth could be felt.
He couldn’t remember ten years ago, and he had spent the last five years cultivating in solitude. Thus, he had essentially no contact with people around his age, and this made him sometimes seem eccentric.
These days, however, he was getting along quite well with these members of the Ling Family. It made him very comfortable and made his heart feel a great deal of warmth. Especially Ling Yushi…
“Then I’ll go to Herb Mountain first.” Slightly smiling, he quickly nodded his head at everyone and then left to Herb Mountain.
After he left, everyone else all acted sensibly, immediately taking the initiative to head back to Ling Town first. Only Ling Ying pouted reluctantly, as if she had wanted to also stay and wait for Qin Lie.
“This girl, they are already engaged. What are you cutting in for?” quietly reminded Ling Xiao, grabbing her.
“They are only engaged and have yet to truly marry. Seriously. Whatever, I’ll just leave with you guys…” whispered Ling Ying in response.
Ling Yushi just watched everything happen, not saying anything to Ling Ying. After deeply pondering for a while, she said to everyone, “These past five years Qin Lie has been painstakingly cultivating. It is I… who disturbed his peaceful life and involved him in the matters of the Ling Family.”
Pausing for a moment, she furrowed her brows and then continued, “The chaotic, messy matters of the Ling Family should not be imposed upon him as he is completely unrelated. Thus, once we’ve all returned to normal, concerning over the matters pertaining to him… everyone please don’t say anything. He wants to just peacefully cultivate, we shouldn’t break that peace.”
“Mn, we all understand. Although the Ling Family has a ton of terrible matters, they are all our own matters. We definitely shouldn’t impose these upon him,” said Ling Feng, nodding his head. He sternly continued towards everyone, “In a while, when we return to Ling Town, don’t speak anymore about matters regarding Qin Lie. Otherwise, if other people learn of Qin Lie’s strength, they will definitely pester him. That will definitely affect his cultivation.”
Everyone expressed their understanding and promised not to gossip or discuss things concerning Qin Lie.
Not long after, under Ling Feng’s urging, they all returned to Ling Town together.
Ling Yushi gracefully stood by herself at the foot of Herb Mountain, waiting. Suddenly, she recalled one of her most recent encounters with Qin Lie where she had carried Qin Lie by his legs back to Ling Town.
During that time, he had been lying on her back while closely pressed against her…
Thinking about it, her cheeks couldn’t help but grow hot as she suddenly thought of a question: During that time, was that guy awake?
As the thought raced through her mind, waves began to ripple across her eyes and her face revealed an alluring, elegant expression.
Within the mines of Herb Mountain, Qin Lie had just entered, and his expression suddenly sank.
The mountain’s interior was a complex system of mines. While he had been cultivating, his grandfather had personally worked on constructing it day by day. Tunnel after tunnel crisscrossed each other, forming strange formations which prevented outsiders from entering, so he could always have a quiet place to cultivate. A private little space where he could let himself loose.
Previously, due to Du Jiaolan’s increasingly aggressive actions, Ling Chengye had no choice but to open the cave to the public, resulting in many Ling Family members entering the mountain to explore like a flock of birds.
Unfortunately, not a single martial practitioner of Ling Town was able to find the secret to the formations and break into their mysteries; they all gradually gave up on their own.
Today, however, at the entrance to the mine, there were clear traces of the formations having been broken through since several of the stone tunnels were blocked by giant boulders, thus changing the flow of air current within the tunnels. Furthermore, there were several newly opened tunnels which seemed to have been the initial method the trespasser utilized to break the formations.
——The Ling Family definitely didn’t have people who could understand this.
So who could have done it?
Qin Lie deeply furrowed his brows, his heart constricting as he hurriedly followed the original path into the depths of the mountain. He hoped that no one had been able to enter the deepest part of the mountain.
That was his own private space. It was the crucial area where he had previously tempered himself with Heavenly Thunder Eradication and was also his own little paradise.
He couldn’t allow any outsiders to enter!
Very quickly, he reached the interior of the caves. After discovering that everything was still normal, as well as the traces he had seen on his way, he surmised that formation breaker had yet to come in.
“It’s okay. That person should not be able to break through the formations for the time being. I assume they must still be trying to figure out a method.” After entering the cave, Qin Lie properly put away the fire crystals, and rubbed his chin for a while. His eyes gradually became cold. “If it wasn’t a person from Ling Town, who could it be? What does this person want? Do they truly believe there is some treasure within the cave?”
Knowing that Ling Yushi was waiting for him outside, he didn’t stay for long within the mines and quickly left.
Naturally, as soon as he exited cavern, he saw Ling Yushi prettily standing where she had originally been.
He didn’t know what she had been thinking about, but her cheeks had become flushed and there was an ambient light within her eyes. She didn’t have her usual alluring charm, and her elegance was different than usual. All of this gave Qin Lie a different impression.
“What are you thinking about so deeply?”Qin Lie suddenly called out softly, after quietly walking behind her.
Ling Yushi suddenly jumped. She had clearly been surprised. Upon realizing that it was just Qin Lie, a smile emerged again as she mischievously looked at him, pointed at him, and laughingly asked, “I was thinking of that time when I was carrying you home on my back. Were you awake?”
Unprepared, the skin on Qin Lie’s face suddenly trembled. Just when he wanted to strongly deny it, Ling Yushi had already seen it, shouting, “I knew it! I just knew it, you! You are truly rotten to the core!”
Embarrassed, Qin Lie dryly laughed, noncommittal no matter what she said.
However, Ling Yushi didn’t pursue it any further. Laughing, she rolled her eyes and said, “Since you tightly gripped my hand and helped me divide the pressure during the engagement ceremony, I will forgive you.”
At that time, she had to endure the ridicule and mocking from her family members as well the harsh words of the Du Family. In that moment of extreme sadness and helplessness, it was Qin Lie who had tightly held her hand.
At that time, under the great pressure, she had unconsciously gripped with force and her nails pierced into Qin Lie’s palm, yet Qin Lie didn’t even utter a cry.
After the trip to Celestial Wolf Mountain, with her pure and noble heart, she had naturally been able to guess that Qin Lie had been awake then. Thus, she had often recalled that time, and whenever she did, her heart would be extremely moved.
Just that one matter was enough for her to forgive all of Qin Lie’s sins. Not to mention, in the first place, the depths of her heart didn’t contain even the slightest negative thought towards Qin Lie…
“The stone tunnels’ formations within Herb Mountain are currently being destroyed by someone. The person shouldn’t be someone of the Ling Family, do you have any idea who it might be?” in order to avoid awkwardness, Qin Lie changed the topic by quickly bringing up what he had just discovered. Simply explaining the circumstances, he continued, “That person understands formations and should be an artificer. However, their level shouldn’t be too high considering that even after spending a long time, they weren’t able to break through.”
“There isn’t even a need to guess, the culprit has to be Du Jiaolan. She probably told Du Haitian the circumstances surrounding Herb Mountain and had him arrange for people to come over and try to break through it,” decisively concluded Ling Yushi. “She has wanted to acquire Herb Mountain for a long time now, constantly scheming to replace my father as the Ling Family Patriarch. The mysteries within Herb Mountain are a point of entry for her, so she would naturally pay attention to it.”
Qin Lie silently listened, his brows gradually furrowing as his face sunk.
The wondrous formations within Herb Mountain were personally made for him by his grandfather. Even if they truly needed to be destroyed, they would only be destroyed by his hands. No one else could interfere!
That cave was a sacred ground within his mind, his only private space. Even Ling Yushi hadn’t been brought in, so how could an outsider enter!