Chapter 1936A – A Snowy Night
Lin Ming’s last stop in Green Mulberry City was the restaurant that his parents had managed for the Lin Family in the past.
However, the restaurant was no longer a restaurant. It was no longer open for business, but closed up against outsiders.
This restaurant was a treasure land of the Lin Family. Let alone eating a meal, one couldn’t even visit.
Even every new generation of the Sky Fortune Kingdom’s emperor would only be able to distantly pay their respects when they came to visit Green Mulberry City.
In the Sky Fortune Kingdom, the truth was that the Lin Family represented something similar to divine right. They were a force that stood above imperial authority and were insurmountable.
Seeing this restaurant that no one could even enter, Lin Ming seemed to lose interest in revisiting the familiar places.
In revisiting familiar places, he didn’t come to see the sights, but to recall memories.
When the Lin Family restaurant was no longer the same and instead had taken on a completely different significance, Lin Ming no longer wished to go in.
Because, from there, in the end these memories could not be found…
Lin Ming left. He left Green Mulberry City and left the Sky Fortune Kingdom…
Thinking about it, ever since Sheng Mei drew out Lin Ming’s source soul force, around seven or eight years had passed.
Lin Ming could feel his cultivation fall every day. Although the tiny amount of source soul force left in his body made it so that he didn’t age and turn senile, his weak fires of life weren’t able to be summoned. He also couldn’t withstand the burden of the massive energy and cultivation contained within his body.
Slowly, these strengths dissipated.
He began to weaken.
He travelled to the north. He passed through villages and eventually arrived at a northern grassland.
This land was not as peaceful as the Sky Fortune Kingdom.
Soldiers and cavalry chaotically wandered about. War happened year-round. Lin Ming walked through the streets and could feel the worry and panic in the hearts of the walking pedestrians. They often had scarves wrapped around their heads, their footsteps hurried and their expressions tense.
War, famine, plagues; to mortals these were three of the most terrifying events.
And once war, famine, and plagues erupted it would likely spread.
On this day, there was heavy snow.
Lin Ming went to a remote mountain. The day was late and the path of the road couldn’t be seen. The snow was knee-deep. If this was a valley, an entire person could be swallowed up.
Lin Ming looked at the vast white mountain ridge that was illuminated in a pall of night. He wanted to climb the mountain, but at this time, he suddenly felt inexplicably cold. He couldn’t help but shiver.
Although Lin Ming’s cultivation had fallen, he still wasn’t so weak that he couldn’t withstand the cold on this snowy mountain. In fact, even if the most powerful ice-attribute martial artist of the Sky Spill Planet were to freely attack Lin Ming, he wouldn’t feel anything at all.
But on this day, he felt an inexplicable chill.
This was a coldness that came from the soul, making it nearly impossible for Lin Ming to withstand.
He knew that the wounds Sheng Mei left in him couldn’t be cured. Moreover… they would become increasingly heavy until finally, they took his life.
He used his sense to cover this mountain. He wanted to look for a place to rest.
But as he searched, his mind suddenly shook. He… saw a person, a person he recognized. Although this person’s appearance had greatly changed, Lin Ming was still able to recognize him.
There were far too many shadows of the past on his appearance. And, his saber hadn’t changed for over 130 years…
“This damnable weather, what hellish luck!”
“To hurry on the road on such a snowy night can take a man’s life. I wonder if the cold weather will sicken his highness the crown prince.”
Two youths complained in low voices. They spoke in whispers. On such a snowy and windy night, their voices couldn’t travel too far.
“Just forget it. We have to find the little princess within three days, evacuate from this area and return to our base. If we stay too long then the White Guard will definitely find us.”
An old man spoke. He wore a bamboo hat and carried a child in his arms.
He wore a long coat and tried to cover the shivering child in his arms as much as possible. He kept his head lowered as he hurried along.
“What if we can’t find her?” A youth anxiously asked…
“If we can’t find her then that is the will of heaven…” The old man deeply sighed and shook his head. “If I remember correctly then the cave we stopped by last year is just in front of us. There should still be some hay and firewood left inside, so let’s rest in there tonight.”
As the old man spoke he searched out the snow road before him. He had a sharp memory, and after a quarter hour he found the cave he remembered from the past.
Everyone let out a long breath of relief. To cross a mountain on a snowy night, that was something they could withstand, but the child with them wouldn’t be able to bear it.
The group quickly ran into the cave. They brushed the snow off their bodies and took off their bamboo hats.
Although the cave was still cold, the air inside was dry. And as the old man remembered, there really was hay and firewood within.
They planned to use the firewood to light a fire.
But when they lit the flames, at the moment the cave was illuminated in light, they were all startled and quickly drew backwards.
With sharp ringing sounds, everyone drew out their weapons!
This was because there was someone sitting in the cave. He wore a jade-green mask that had an extremely cold and indifferent expression carved into it. Moreover, this person hadn’t made a single sound nor did he release any aura. This was why when the group entered the cave, no one had noticed him.
“Who are you?”
Everyone had their guards raised. This was because they were all being hunted down by the White Guard.
In this remote part of a snowy mountain, a mysterious person had suddenly appeared, making them all feel as if they were in a perilous situation.
“Just a passerby…”
Lin Ming quietly said. His eyes were focused on the old man in the group.
This old man appeared to be around 60 years of age. His face was engraved with the years of wind and frost. From the outline of his face, one could vaguely sense that in his youth, this old man had also once been a considerably dashing individual.
This old man only had a single arm. His hair was white and a full white mustache fell down like whiskers. There was a deep scar on his face. It started from his eyebrows and extended down to his neck, nearly splitting through his entire face.
Although this old man was extremely vigilant, there was a deep weariness emanating from him. His old and dirty eyes were bloodshot, and one could see that he hadn’t slept well for several days.
At this time, the old man held out his sword to confront Lin Ming and simultaneously pushed the child to his back to protect him. This child was also sensible and aware of the situation. He didn’t cry nor make noise, but instead quietly stood behind the old man and peeked out at Lin Ming.
Lin Ming was slightly moved. The image of this exhausted old man in front of him began to slowly overlap with another image in his mind.
This image wore embroidered robes and a golden crown tied up his hair. He had an elegant sword strapped onto his waist and his appearance was bold and heroic. Moreover, the corners of his lips had a slight touch of taunting contempt to them, as if to show off his disdain for all others.
If it weren’t for the deep red sword wrapped in snakeskin that was in the old man’s hand, if it weren’t for the familiar fire-attribute true essence emanating from this old man…
Then Lin Ming would never have believed that this old man was an old enemy from his past – Zhu Yan.
In Green Mulberry City, Zhu Yan had stolen away his first love – Lan Yunyue.
Afterwards, Lin Ming had firmed his determination to enter the Seven Profound Martial House. He took his small amount of money and travelled to the Sky Fortune Kingdom to partake in the examinations there. Because he just happened to encounter Zhu Yan by chance when he was registering, one of Zhu Yan’s friends had Lin Ming secretly expelled from his living quarters in order to curry favor. Because of that, Lin Ming went to Great Clarity Pavilion where he worked as a deboner, and it was there that Lin Ming obtained the Magic Cube.
Afterwards, Lin Ming’s cultivation rapidly rose. When his true ability was revealed to the world, this caused Sky Fortune City’s royal family to take notice of him and do everything in their power to win him over.
As for Zhu Yan, because there was a grudge between him and Lin Ming, he was forced to endure great pressure and isolation.
Even his lord, the Tenth Prince Yang Zhen, had started to force Zhu Yan’s hand in his quest for the throne. Yang Zhen had forced Zhu Yan to break his engagement with Lan Yunyue.
Finally, Zhu Yan was defeated by Lin Ming.
Then, whether it was the Zhu Family or the Tenth Prince, Zhu Yan had lost all value to them. Instead he had become a burden.
Thus, Zhu Yan had been expelled.
From that point on, Lin Ming no longer saw Zhu Yan again. It had been over 130 years since they last saw each other.
Lin Ming never thought that after the day he last saw Zhu Yan, the next time they met, Zhu Yan would already be like this.
The scar on his face. His single arm. His old and exhausted face…
Lin Ming could even see the internal injuries left in his body. These hidden wounds had likely even affected Zhu Yan’s road of martial arts.
Because of all of this, Lin Ming could imagine just how much change and hardship Zhu Yan had experienced over the years.
“You… know me?”
Zhu Yan noticed Lin Ming’s gaze and was startled.
Lin Ming didn’t reply. He leaned against the rock behind him. A little hay covered the ground he sat on. At this time, he still felt that biting cold from within.
This pain that came from the soul was nearly unbearable.
“He… he looks like he’s shivering.” Someone said in a whisper as they looked at Lin Ming.
“Is he too cold?”
Everyone thought the situation a little absurd. With the sudden appearance of a masked individual, they thought this might be some peerless master sent to assassinate them. But now, this person was violently shivering as if they couldn’t stand this cold mountain wind.
“That scared me. I thought it was some master…”
“Don’t lower your guard!”
The group chose the corner furthest from Lin Ming and carefully sat down, keeping an eye on him the entire time.
“Old Flame, should we do something about him…” A person said with a true essence sound transmission, “I don’t know whether he heard our conversation from before…”
“The snow is heavy and the winds are great. He shouldn’t have heard us. And if he did, that proves his cultivation is far above ours. If we fight him, we might be the ones killed instead. So… just don’t try to stir up any unnecessary trouble with someone, especially when you don’t know what their origin is. Although he looks sick, for some reason I feel strange when I see him.”
Zhu Yan slowly said. He no longer went by his old name, but instead called himself by a single character – Flame.
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