Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
When Sir Yanming heard Zhang Zhaoyang’s reply, he knew that the latter had already made his mind so he said towards the other two, “I am prepared to stay here. What about the both of you?”
Lu Yueming exchanged glances with Tan Feng and replied, “Both of us will not enter either, I wish you safe on your venture.”
Sir Yanming nodded and said to Zhang Zhaoyang, “Then you can go ahead, I guess that you already know the directions.”
Zhang Zhaoyang smiled as he replied, “Walk straight past ten trees, right past eight trees, back past six trees and left past six trees. I have already committed it to memory, are they accurate?”
Sir Yanming said, “You are right, those are it. I can see that thousand swords peak sect master is pretty determined this time.”
His words contained two meanings behind them but Zhang Zhaoyang was unperturbed. Instead, he searched his body and took out a coil of white rope from his knapsack which made Sir Yanming’s eyes brightened as the latter asked, “Junior nephew Zhang, is this rope woven from the silk of the snow silkworm?”
Zhang Zhaoyang nodded his head in praised and replied, “Senior uncle Yanming sure has good sight, this is indeed made from the silk that is produced by the snow silkworms which can only be found in the frozen northern lands.”
Sir Yanming continued to ask, “I have heard that this silk is unordinary, even a normal blade will not be able to cut through it. Is this rumor true?”
Zhang Zhaoyang said, “It is just as you say, would senior uncle like to test it?”
Sir Yanming pondered before answering, “It would be better if I do for the sake of junior nephew Zhang’s safety.” After finishing his sentence, he took out the sharp dagger from before and said “This dagger of mine can cut through metal as though it is mud, would the silk rope be able to handle its sharpness?”
Zhang Zhaoyang smiled as he said, “Senior uncle Yanming can go ahead. Our sect master had already tested it personally when he first received it. Apart from the peak protecting sword which we did not use, all the other swords in our thousand swords peak was unable to leave a scratch on its surface.”
After hearing his reply, Sir Yanming lifted his dagger and cut it down onto the snow white silk rope, and there was indeed no mark left behind. Sir Yanming shook his head and said, “Sect master Wan has planned very well, he cannot bear to risk his child yet he could not contain the wolf, and is thus willing to bring out such a treasure to accommodate both goals. Good plan, good plan.”
Zhang Zhaoyang did not continue the conversation; he picked the silk rope from the ground and tied it to the jujube tree which Sir Yanming had just made a marking on. Then, he strung the other end onto his waist, and said to Sir Yanming, “Senior uncle Yanming, this snow silk has another use, which is to transmit the vibrations from our internal energy. May I request for senior uncle Yanming to wait here, and send vibrational signals to me in regular time periods when this later generation disciple enter the forest. I will reply with a signal to show that I am safe, and when I have reached the secret area, I will send four consecutive signals to you. Should the rest of you wish to follow me in, you can just trail the silk rope then. Is that alright?”
Sir Yanming smiled and replied, “Sure, then we will have to count on junior nephew as we wait for your success.”
Zhang Zhaoyang took out the thousand swords peak’s leather parchment and handed it over to Sir Yanming. He said, “Senior uncle Yanming, if I met with some unfortunate encounter in the forest, please return this to my sect master.”
Sir Yanming was surprised, he wrinkled his brow and said, “This is such a precious item, how could your sect master hand it to me?”
Zhang Zhaoyang smiled as he replied, “Senior uncle Yanming has become sworn brothers with my sect master, so we would naturally not consider you as an outsider.”
Sir Yanming tightened his grip on the silk rope and said, “Junior nephew can enter the forest with a peace of mind, I will return the parchment to you immediately after we enter the secret area.”
Zhao Zhaoyang said gratefully, “Thank you senior uncle, I will enter the forest now.”
After finishing his sentence, Zhang Zhaoyang took out his longsword and was about to step into the jujube forest.
Suddenly, Sir Yanming pulled him back and asked, “How long is this silk rope of yours? I remembered that the route was quite far, up to four or five li.”
Zhang Zhaoyang smiled and patted at his other knapsacks while saying, “This disciple here still has other preparations, and I will return immediately if they are insufficient.”
Sir Yanming looked at the pouches on the other man’s waist and smiled bitterly back while shaking his head as he thought, “This Wan Chengjiu is truly determined.”
Zhang Zhaoyang bade the others farewell again, and lifted his precious sword as he carefully stepped into the jujube forest.
Sir Yanming and the others could still observe his silhouette in the beginning, but his figure disappeared soon after, leaving behind only the snow white silk rope.
After the time it takes to boil a kettle of tea, there were no other movements that could be seen in the jujube forest, not even the sounds of birds or crickets. Sir Yanming walked upfront and used his hands to pull the silk rope while he sent his internal energy out, and not long after he felt the vibration of the other party’s response. Seeing that Zhang Zhaoyang was still safe, Sir Yanming’s heart became more reassured.
Sir Yanming returned the vibration while Lu Yueming and Tan Feng looked warmly at him while waiting for an update on Zhang Zhaoyang. Sir Yanming smiled as he nodded silently, he felt a strange type of pressure in this place which made the quiet him say even less words than usual.
After the time to boil another kettle of tea, Sir Yanming felt a sudden jump in his heart, and he thought that he imagined a shout coming from the forest. However, it was evident that the forest was dead quiet, and when he turned around to look at the other two people, he saw that Lu Yueming and Tan Feng had surprised looks on their faces as well. Thus, he immediately stepped forward and grabbed the silk rope to send a wave of internal energy over. However, there was no response after half a bell worth of time, and he sent another wave of vibrations again but there was still no reply from the other side. Sir Yanming pondered for a while before he started to pull on the rope to see if he could pull the person back out.
As expected, he could pull the rope back and it even felt light on the other end.
Sir Yanming was downcast as he pulled the silk rope, while Tan Feng went forward hurriedly to coil the silk rope that was piling up behind him. After he pulled the first open and was on to the second, Sir Yanming increased his speed and the pile of rope that Tan Fen was coiling behind him taller. Then, Sir Yanming heard rustling sounds which became faster as he increased his pulling speed, and he guessed that it should the thing on the other end. This time, Sir Yanming chose to proceed more cautiously and he slowed down his pulling speed.
As the thing got closer and closer, everyone’s guard went up.
Unexpectedly, there was nothing on the other side of the silk rope apart from a knot.
Sir Yanming wrinkled his brows and lifted the silk rope knot to inspect it more carefully. The silk roped looked like it was torn apart and not cut using a sharp edge, and Sir Yanming put it under his nose to take a few sniffs. It carried a scent of blood, and then Sir Yanming observed the silk rope again, he noticed a trace of blood. It seemed then Zhang Zhaoyang was involved in a violent struggle, and was pulled away without even leaving behind any items or clues. Sir Yanming sighed out in regret.
On the other side, Tan Feng had collected all the silk rope and had passed the entire dump of precious material to Sir Yanming. Lu Yueming was still holding his sword in his hands, and he asked, “Senior uncle Yanming, having come here twice, did you notice anything different this time round?”
Sir Yanming pondered and said regretfully, “No, I do not see any difference. Has junior nephew Lu made any discovery?”
Lu Yueming looked at the dense jujube forest and answered as though he had some thought in his head, “Senior uncle Yanming, I have grown up in the hills and even though I have never seen such a large jujube forest, I have been to other forests of similar size. After being here for some time, I kept feeling that there was something strange about this forest and after thinking for a long time, I noticed that there seems to be some fog that prevents sunlight from penetrating into the forest.”
Sir Yanming smiled as he said, “True, junior nephew is very detailed. The last time we entered, the insides of the forest was completely filled with fog so we could not see much further ahead of us. There was not much sunlight, and there were many skeletal remains of animals and humans as well.”
Lu Yueming nodded and said, “There will always be curious people and animals that will enter such dangerous places to never leave, so those remains are not unexpected to me. Apart from that, have you noticed any other strange characteristics of this forest?”
Sir Yanming and Tan Feng asked curiously, “What strange characteristic?”
Lu Yueming replied, “Listen, are there any sounds of birds in the forest?”
Sir Yanming and Tan Feng strained their ears, and indeed, there was no bird cries. Sir Yanming thought back to his previous trip and said, “Junior nephew is right, it was very quiet the last time I entered, and there were no bird sounds anywhere.”
Lu Yueming said solemnly, “This is the strange characteristic I have noticed. Birds are unlike other animals because they have wings and are able to go anywhere, and a forest should be the natural home of birds. Since there are no bird sounds in the forest, doesn’t senior uncle Yanming feel suspicious as well?”
After hearing the other party’s sentence, Sir Yanming realized his oversight and immediately went into deep thought. His whole body broke out into cold sweat, and his heart jumped again when he took another look at the blood stained silk rope. The scene of the deathly quiet forest made him not want to stay in that place any longer, he waved his hand and said, “Junior nephew, this is not a place for the living. Let us depart now and find a better place to discuss this.”
Lu Yueming and Tan Feng immediately replied, “As senior uncle Yanming instructs.”
Without staying any further, Sir Yanming kept the precious silk rope which was made of silk produced by the snow silkworms into his own knapsack while he brought Lu Yueming and Tan Feng away without ever looking back.
The fog continued to roll in the quiet forest as though nothing has happened previously.