Translated by Rikko of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Addis, WagahaiFujoshi
Winter had fallen a tad too swiftly on Festive Sun County, churning out two to three snowfalls before even the end of October.
Although Liang Zheng was immune to cold since he had already elevated to the golden core stage, he still habitually stomped his feet while exhaling out onto his palms.
As always, Ji ChangYun donned the iconic white robes of Mount Jade Dwelling, his stature as straight as a bamboo.
He eyed the abandoned house in front of him, a light wrinkle knitted between his brows.
“This is the place.”
Despite not having the level of prosperity Long River City possessed, citizens lived in peaceful bliss in the small county that was Festive Sun.
However, the winter of this year was an exception, when three to four missing cases arose continually all of a sudden.
Since officials and citizens found no traces even after scouring every spot, rumors of a man-eating monster lurking their midst began circulating.
Contacting cultivators was a natural course of action when facing monsters.
After a series of searches, the magistrate finally came in contact with Mount Jade Dwelling.
Liang Zheng caught a whiff of the faint wisp of scent, “It’s a demonic cultivator?
Ji ChangYun nodded, “Now that the demonic cult lost a suitable lord to back them up, their standing is not as great as before, so they dared not to roam the central plains arbitrarily. But occasionally, some of them do take the risk. Since they do not dare to kill cultivators, they opted to absorb civilians’ souls for their cultivation.”
As a frown began forming on Liang Zheng, both of them set foot together into the house.
To prevent causing disturbance to the citizens, the two usually started their task when the sky darkened.
The house wasn’t all that large. At the north of the house was its hall, while both east and west had three rooms within them each. Under the veil of night, a creepy vibe blanketed all of the rooms.
The two parted ways, investigating each room one by one.
Situated in the west, Liang Zheng was just about to open the door of the third room when a long sword burst forth from the door, lunging straight at his chest!
He instantly dodged sideways before unsheathing his sword and hacked it down, forcing his assailant away.
Ji ChangYun had whizzed over by that time, his sword smashing down the door in one strike!
Within the room was an emaciated demonic cultivator with reddened eyes.
Finding no way out of the situation, the demonic cultivator decided to lunge over at Liang Zheng!
Liang Zheng whizzed backwards, taking a few steps back before launching his sword forward.
Similarly, Ji ChangYun drew his sword and thrust it over to his opponent’s chest.
The elimination of a demonic cultivator was a piece of cake for both of them, who were in the late stage of lesser vehicle level and middle stage of golden core level.
With both swords piercing through the demonic cultivator’s chest at the same time, the demonic cultivator was reduced to mist at once, dispersing away.
Both of them pushed the door open and entered the room.
Ji ChangYun recited an incantation, lighting up a small nook of the room.
It was a bedroom. The few skeletons scattered all over it were broken into unrecognisable pieces, most likely the remains of the civilians who got their essence and blood absorbed away.
Ji ChangYun tidied the bones to confirm the number of victims.
Liang Zheng shifted his line of sight due to the unpleasantness welling up in him, just to notice a white bone poking out under a study that he shot a glimpse on.
It was probably the remains of yet another innocent civilian.
After letting out a light sigh, he walked over to the table, planning on tidying the remains.
However, just as he bent down, all of a sudden, a dagger from underneath the table charged right towards his face!
Never did Liang Zheng expect another demonic cultivator to be around!
Unlike how highly alerted he was moments ago when he was investigating the rooms, the present Liang Zheng was caught entirely off guard.
The only subconscious reaction he managed to counter with was to lean back and dodge the attack.
Seeing that the strike was dodged, the attacker slid the dagger instantly to his neck!
All of that happened in just a blink of an eye.
Liang Zheng swept a glance with his peripheral vision, inferring from the blue on the dagger’s blade that there might be poison on it.
Still, having nowhere to escape, he could only look on as the nearing dagger threatened to slit his throat.
Just then, a gust of sword energy blazed over with surging aura, slashing right down on the dagger.
Liang Zheng whizzed backwards in retreat, while Ji ChangYun struck again, slitting open his opponent’s neck.
Only when the demonic cultivator Liang Zheng had his eyes focused on was reduced to powder did Liang Zheng realise the cold sweat drenching his forehead.
Ji ChangYun asked, his countenance darkened a little, “Are you alright? “
Pulled back to his senses, Liang Zheng answered in haste, “Yeah. “
Learning from their past mistake, both of them went over the house with a fine-tooth comb, but they didn’t part ways this time.
Instead of letting Liang Zheng take the lead, Ji ChangYun only had him following behind.
As always, Liang Zheng didn’t question his Junior Ji’s actions despite not knowing why he did so.
By the time the two got out of the house and got onto the streets, the snow had already stopped.
Noticing Ji ChangYun’s expression still hadn’t eased up, Liang Zheng gave a careful apology, “I’m sorry, Junior. I was too rash.”
Following which, he attempted to loosen up the atmosphere hanging between them, “We’ve been practising cultivation together for more than twenty years, but Master has always said I’m inferior to Junior spiritually. See? Fancy me being so careless tonight.”
Although he was belittling himself, once he mentioned Ji ChangYun being spiritually superior, a habitual proudness rose in his tone.
Ji ChangYun asked while casting a glance at him, “Senior Brother did nothing wrong, so why apologise?”
Awkwardness crept onto Liang Zheng’s face, “Wasn’t Junior Brother angry at this?”
Ji ChangYun shook his head before changing the subject out of the blue, “Does Senior Brother still remember Gu Xuan Yan and Qin MingXi?”
Liang Zheng was stunned. “Of course.”
“During the time on the icy plains, Senior Brother said, for the special someone he cherishes the most, everything else is mere dust in his eyes. That is how Gu XuanYan sees Qin MingXi.”
Not expecting Ji ChangYun to mention this, Liang Zheng only recalled telling him that after a short while. He couldn’t help scratching his head sheepishly as he whispered, “I pulled it out of thin air. Didn’t Junior Brother disagree with it then? Why mention it now all so suddenly?”
Ji ChangYun’s eyes fell on Liang Zheng’s face, his tone calm and still.
“Because I sort of get it today.”
Frozen in shock, Liang Zheng lifted his head and his eyes met with Ji ChangYun’s.
Insuppressible redness bloomed on his face as he stammered, “Ju-Junior Ji…”
Liang Zheng’s outrageously red face went up in flames, the blush on him blazing over to the tips of his ears.
He lifted his gaze at Ji ChangYun, facing a pair of eyes which glittered in the snowy night, as if it was soaked in a pool of bright autumn waters.
Under the eyes of Ji ChangYun, he lowered his head in a flurry again.
Moments later, Ji ChangYun withdrew his gaze and headed forward, his tone just like the fallen snow on the long street.
“Let’s go home.”
A lone, bright moon suspended on the dark sky in the deep of the night. Not a single soul trod the streets then; only the northern wind was rolling over the night lanterns on the eaves of the houses. A layer of snow sat on the ground, reflecting the light of the moon in silence.
Upon noticing Liang Zheng wasn’t following behind after walking a few steps forward, Ji ChangYun stopped a short distance away and turned around.
He stood in the street with his eyes on Liang Zheng, neither speaking up to rush him nor having any shred of impatience within himself.
In opposition, Liang Zheng jogged forward hurriedly to Ji ChangYun’s side, as if abruptly awakened from a dream.
As the two continued forward, the lingering heat was still stuck on Liang Zheng’s face. In contrast, Ji ChangYun remained as expressionless as ever, as though the previous conversation was just a hallucination Liang Zheng had in the snowy night.
However, a brief moment later, Liang Zheng’s hand was held.
His face heated up again, but instead of shifting his line of sight to look at the person next to him, he had his eyes on the street ahead.
As the year drew to its close, the setting in of chilliness brought about flurries of snow onto the long stretch of streets.
Still, with someone by the side, there will be a moment in time to catch the sunrise together.