Long Chen hastily spread his divine sense, and his hard gaze quickly softened.
He managed to find them. They were living in a simple thatched hut on a hillside a few dozen miles from the village.
The small courtyard outside of the hut was filled with sprouting vegetables. Not far from it, one could also see a stretch of orchard that was blocked by a wooden fence. It was a quiet and content place, isolated from the clamor of the world.
There was a woman in the orchard, picking a newly ripened fruit. Rubbing it clean with a towel, she handed it to a girl beside her.
This girl looked to be around eight or nine years old. Her hair was tied in two small pigtails, and she had a pair of pure and innocent eyes.
“Mom, you spent all day weeding. You should eat the first one,” said the girl cutely.
“Xiaoyu, I’m not tired. This is the first ripened fruit of the orchard. You have to taste it to see if it’s good or not.” The woman smiled lovingly.
“No, you have to eat it first! Otherwise, I won’t eat it either!” the girl insisted.
The woman smiled. “You really are just like your brother. So stubborn.”
The woman helplessly took a small bite of the fruit before handing it to the girl.
Only then did the girl happily receive the fruit and take a big bite of it. The fruit’s juice dripped down her face, but she was very happy with the taste.
“Eat slower. A young lady must be refined. You can’t eat so inelegantly. You really are just like your brother.” The woman lightly rebuked the girl.
Taking out a handkerchief, she wiped the juices off the girl’s face. The girl seemed to be used to it and continued happily eating the fruit.
“Mom, you said my brother went out to study and he’ll return when his studies are finished. How come he still isn’t back? The fruit’s already ripe, and if he doesn’t come back, he won’t make it..” Suddenly, the girl sensed that she had said the wrong thing as her mother’s eyes turned red. “Mom, I’m sorry…”
The woman slowly knelt and looked the girl in the eye. “Your big brother Long Chen is working hard at his studies. He’s just like you, a smart and thoughtful child. If he hasn’t returned, it just means he’s still working hard. Once he succeeds... he’ll definitely come back to see us…”
“Mom, your unfilial son has returned.” At this moment, an equally emotional voice rang out not far from her.
The woman’s whole body shook as she slowly turned around. She saw that at some unknown time, a tall, handsome young man had appeared behind her.
The immaturity that had been present on this face the last time she had seen it had been removed by the passing of time. It was still the same face, but after going through hardships, it looked different. The things that hadn’t changed were those emotional eyes.
“Chen-er…” Long Chen’s mother felt like she was dreaming.
“Mom… your child has been unfilial.” Tears flowed out of Long Chen’s eyes. He was filled with guilt as he was truly an unfilial son. He had a thousand things he wanted to say, but he wasn’t able to say any of them.
“Chen-er, it really is you…”
Mrs. Long was also crying as she held Long Chen. She held him tightly as if she were afraid he would fly away.
No matter how high his cultivation base rose, no matter how his name shook the land, he would always be a child in front of his mother. Within his mother’s embrace, all his emotions spilled out like a dam that had been opened.
In front of his brothers and beauties, he was the most dependable companion.
In front of his enemies, he was fierce and vicious, striking fear into their hearts with just his name.
Only in front of his mother was he neither an unrivaled hero nor a fierce fiend. He was just a completely ordinary child.
Ever since he had stepped onto the path of cultivation, he had never lowered his head in the face of the countless obstacles and setbacks. Even in front of the slander of the entire world, he could wave it off with a smile.
With his mother, it was like he had returned to his childhood, and all his grievances spilled out. Only in his mother’s embrace could he feel warmth and comfort.
“Good child, don’t cry. As long as you’re back, everything’s fine… Xiaoyu, why are you hiding? Haven’t you been missing your brother every day? Now your brother’s back. Do you not recognize him?”
After a while of crying, Mrs. Long helped Long Chen wipe away his tears as well as her own. Only then did she see Long Xiaoyu hiding behind her, stealthily staring at Long Chen.
When Long Chen looked at her, she hid herself completely, seemingly afraid of him.
“This child…” sighed Mrs. Long.
“Xiaoyu, do you not remember me? I brought you a gift!” enticed Long Chen.
“I remember you… but you look different… You’re too frightening and… you don’t look quite the same.” Xiaoyu stuck out her head to glance at Long Chen before retracting it once more.
Long Chen bitterly smiled. After all these years, his appearance hadn’t changed that much. However, although his aura was suppressed right now, he had slaughtered too many people.
Perhaps his mother was unable to sense it, but a child’s pure nature was very sensitive to such a thing. For her to feel afraid of him was instinctual.
Long Chen took out a small ball. Rainbow light roved around it, and flowers of light blossomed on it repeatedly. He smiled. “This is a gift I prepared specially for you. Do you like it?”
Yes, it had been prepared specially. But the amount of time he had spent preparing was rather short. Actually, it was just a few breaths’ time.
As soon as Long Chen had seen Xiaoyu, he had had the Blazing Dragon Cauldron work with Huo Long to refine this special medicinal pill.
It was a ninth tier medicinal pill, but in reality, it had no medicinal effect. It was not used for consuming, but for testing an alchemist’s control over their Pill Flame and Spiritual Strength.
The greater their control over their Pill Flame and Spiritual Strength when refining this pill, the more beautiful the end result would be. This pill was purely used to test an alchemist’s talent.
However, the quality was so high that some extra lines had appeared on it, making it appear even more glorious and attractive. It was as enticing as a shining pearl, but that pearl now seemed to possess its own life. Let alone a child, even an adult would be drawn over by it.
When Xiaoyu saw this fun object, it was unknown whether her aversion toward him had vanished or not, but she accepted it.
“Your father’s fishing beside the river. You should go see him.” Mrs. Long Chen was extremely happy to see Long Chen return, and she wanted her husband to be happy too.
“Father really is in an interesting mood. He can calm down enough to fish?” Long Chen was surprised by this, as well as a bit sad.
Back in the day, Long Tianxiao had been the Phoenix Cry Empire’s famous and powerful Border Suppression Marquis. He had used his great power and leadership abilities to protect the borders from the invading barbarians. He had been a brilliant warrior, but now he was forced to live in seclusion within the wild mountains. That made Long Chen feel guilty; this was all because of him.
“He’s actually gotten in a better mood after coming here. Back in the Phoenix Cry Empire, we often bickered, but your father actually seems much calmer now. He lets me have my way most of the time. Perhaps a person’s environment can really change them. We’re now in the green mountains, living a carefree life away from the struggle of the world. We don’t have to worry every day like when we were in the Phoenix Cry Empire, and your father is no longer busy with work all day. He likes living this comfortable life. Although he wasn’t a bit used to it at the start, we both feel very satisfied with our current lives.” Mrs. Long smiled at Long Chen.
After undergoing huge upheavals, a person’s frame of mind would change. Mrs. Long was like that. This was precisely the kind of life that she wanted. Her husband and daughter were beside her from sunrise to sunset, and each day passed peacefully. These days were ordinary, but they were happy.
Hearing this, Long Chen’s guilt was alleviated slightly. He asked them why they had moved from the village to this place.
“Those villagers are actually very nice. At first, they warmly welcomed us, and your father helped them with hunting. But later, the flavor changed. Although your father didn’t expose his status as a cultivator, the villagers sensed that he was particularly powerful. Each day, he would bring back as much as a month’s worth of hunting spoils from several other people. Plus, there was no danger to anyone’s lives. It was very easy…” Mrs. Long sighed.
A slight sneer appeared on Long Chen’s face. “And then they grew dependent on him, saying that since he was so powerful, why didn’t he go hunting some more and split what he couldn’t finish with them?”
Mrs. Long nodded. As soon as Long Chen had heard the start, he had known the conclusion.
Long Chen shook his head. “This is moral extortion. They feel that stronger people should put in more effort and that wealthy people should donate their wealth more. They don’t realize that this kind of thinking turns them into parasites without the slightest feeling of urgency or danger to better themselves. If they lose their parasitic target, they simply end up dying. Other people can help you for a while, but they can’t help you for a lifetime. Father was right to leave the village. If they relied on him too much, it would result in apathy from them. But I trust when he left, he had to have been cursed quite a bit. Heh, if you help someone once you’re a good person, but if you help them a thousand times and then don’t help them once, you’re an irredeemable devil. Viewing other people’s help as simply proper without being grateful is a common problem in this world.”
“Chen-er, you have really grown up.” Mrs. Long sighed emotionally upon hearing Long Chen speak with such frank assurance. Long Chen was no longer that willful child. He had matured but perhaps too much.
“Mom, can you make some food? I’ll go find dad. Let’s have a proper meal together. You should know that I dream about your cooking.” Long Chen smiled.
“Alright, then I’ll make your favorite pork with spring bamboo.” Mrs. Long smiled and returned to the grass hut.
Long Xiaoyu was playing with the medicinal pill delightedly. She was a bit enraptured and didn’t even pay attention to Long Chen.
Helplessly, Long Chen walked to the riverside on his own.Previous Chapter Next Chapter