Upon entering Yangchun, the weather slowly became warm.
The trees sprouted fresh buds, and the weeds began to awaken, filling in the perfectly straight avenue, squeezed into fragments by the coming and going wheels of carts. Two divine steeds swept over the road. The grass was trampled apart instead of being showing hoofprints, lifting countless blades of grass into the wind.
Riding upon the horses were a man and woman. One was slightly young in appearance, yet his eyes were very luminous. His body appeared feeble, but he appeared even more reserved than a middle-aged man. He vaguely had a kind of warrior’s tough bearing.
The woman riding with the youth wore red armor and long silk. Her fire-red hair was like a flowing plume of sea grass. Fluttering in the wind, it was just like a flame. At first glance, she gave people the feeling that this woman was not easy to approach, otherwise, they would inevitably be burnt.
“What’s the deal with this Casting Master Banquet?” The woman spoke, her voice somewhat forceful. It went without saying that she was naturally the King Of Extinguished Ashes, Zhongli Sanmei.
The two of them spurred their horses towards Little Jade City as fast as possible. This business would need explanation from Shi Cheng’s invitation a few days ago.
That day, Shi Cheng had invited Chen Mo to go participate in Little Jade City’s casting master Banquet. From what he understood, the Little Jade Banquet was an annual meeting of casting masters.
This was more or less one activity for casting masters.
At the banquet, casting masters would share and exchange their experiences, trade goods and spirit stones, etc. After all, the path of a casting master was very difficult. The more that fellows in the same trade learned from each other, the more help there was in raising their casting skills. However, not everyone was able to join the Little Jade’s banquet. Even after receiving an invitation, there was still an examination. Those who passed would have a chance to truly be a guest.
Shi Cheng had gone many times in the past, but he only entered once.
This time, when he learned that Chen Mo needed a casting method that could inject a spirit, he pondered over and over again. Finally, Shi Cheng gave this invitation to him.
Chen Mo had been a casting master for scarcely a few months, but he had already reached the apex. He was the most unbelievable genius that Shi Cheng had ever seen, however, it was precisely because that not much time had passed that Chen Mo lacked any reputation to speak of. Shi Cheng felt that if he gave this opportunity to Chen Mo, Chen Mo would obtain even greater benefit in raising his skills by socializing with more casting masters.
Of course, there was another reason. Chen Mo currently already held Azure Dragon Town thoroughly in the palm of his hand. Shi Cheng’s goodwill was considered an act of loyalty towards Chen Mo.
Chen Mo was well aware of this point.
Chen Mo did not refuse him. On one hand, he needed Spirit Attachment Iron Essence material, and on the other, he needed the casting method for imbuing spirit. Additionally, there was another reason. Having reached the peak of Early Stage Casting Master, he was very curious about the levels of other casting masters.
“Are you sure this won’t be a waste of time?” Zhongli Sanmei asked. The woman hated to waste time. To speed from Chuan Province to Xi Province required six or seven days, jostled and exhausted all along the way. If they gained nothing after going to that exchange, she would definitely flip a table.
“It shouldn’t be.” Chen Mo replied.
“Shouldn’t be?” Zhongli Sanmei was not satisfied with Chen Mo’s somewhat unconfident answer at all.
Chen Mo helplessly said: “My main goal is to forge some Star Throwing Knives. At best, I can increase my experience. However, it’s very rare for an Early Stage Casting Master to have a chance at forging with spirit injection, so I can’t be certain.”
Seeing Zhongli Sanmei’s face of displeasure, Chen Mo was aware that she was currently at a phase of recovering her Star Energy. She needed time. “Truthfully, Sanmei, you didn’t need to come with me.”
“Forget it, this beats staying in that boring place.”
After several hours, the weather began to turn gloomy. Bean-sized raindrops slowly fell from the overcast clouds. Chen Mo knew at a glance that a big rain was coming. He accelerated, and in front of them, a simple and crude grass hut pavilion appeared.
“Let’s shelter from the rain for now.” Chen Mo said.
“Truly annoying.” Zhongli Sanmei cursed.
People did not need to fear the rain, but the horses could not bear it. After entering the pavilion, they dismounted. The rain fell heavily, the bean-sized droplets pounding against the ground with loud pops. The mountains and fields were very quickly covered by the storm.
The horses ate the roadside grass while Chen Mo and Zhongli Sanmei stood under the pavilion, listening to the rain.
Seeing that a heavy rain could delay their journey, Zhongli Sanmei wrinkled her brow and said to Chen Mo. “Chen Mo, you should speed up your cultivation. You won’t be so troubled in the future.”
“There’s no need to rush something like cultivation.” Chen Mo shrugged.
After opening the “Qi Flower” of the Three Flowers Overhead, one became able to refine qi. At that time, they would have the qualifications to utilize special powers. These powers could easily break a Qi And Blood Warrior’s physical body, and upon reaching “Divine Flower” once could make thoughts substantial. Flight by sword was even possible.1 When the time came, he could fly the sword a thousand li in a single day and would have no need to urge on a horse so arduously.
“I really don’t understand you insignificant Qi And Blood level warriors. Why would any other woman take a fancy to you.” Zhongli Sanmei’s words were a bit sour.
Ever since she learned that Chen Mo the Servant Star was unexpectedly able to sign contracts with two Star Generals, Zhongli Sanmei was but filled with fire. She had never heard of such a thing in Star World. Could a Servant Star serving two Stars at once even be called a servant. Zhongli Sanmei wanted to see just where this man was different from everyone else.
“That’s my auntie you’re talking about. What’s so weird about this.” Chen Mo disapproved.
“A Star General who succeeds a Star Name forsakes the fetters of worldly and familial affairs. Even if she is your auntie, she wouldn’t sign a Servant Star contract with her nephew.” Zhongli Sanmei pursed her lips, her face full of disdain.
A Servant Star contracting a Servant Star signified the addition of a shackle. If the Servant Star died, the Star General herself would be hurt with a major decrease in cultivation, and it would be very difficult to advance her Realm again. Furthermore, the Star Names of Star Generals were lofty. To possess a Servant Star was a stain on their honor.
If it was not for witnessing Chen Mo protect her, Zhongli Sanmei truthfully would never have planned to have a Servant Star, even if she died.
“Ask her when you have the chance next time.” Chen Mo was loathe to explain things to ZHongli Sanmei. In front of a jealous woman, it was best to not make mention of another woman, so as to avoid things becoming more and more troublesome.
Zhongli Sanmei felt bored, so she sat cross-legged and meditated.
A chafing sound suddenly echoed through the pavilion, taking Chen Mo aback. The sound came from another side of the building. Chen Mo walked over and was stunned at what he saw.
He saw an unbearably frail child dressed in ragged clothing, clutching her knees as she sat in a corner of the pavilion. Rain drops fell from a hole in the ceiling onto her body, yet she was unbothered. She lowered her head, giving Chen Mo a kind of extremely lonely feeling.
Sympathy arose in Chen Mo’s heart, and he walked over.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, the child gripped her knees even tighter, burying her face in her legs. Chen Mo noticed that her hair was very long, however, stained with grime and water, it appeared somewhat foul.
Seeing her frightened appearance, Chen Mo could not bear it. He took out a ration and handed it to her: “Are you alone?”
The girl’s head remained buried. She did not say a word.
Chen Mo crouched beside her, patting those pitiful shoulders: “Don’t be afraid, I’m not a bad guy.” Perhaps Chen Mo’s warm tone roused her, but the girl finally raised her head and glanced at him.
Her face was covered in dirt, but from those eyes that were deep as the starry skies, he was still able to see her beauty.
“Hungry?” Chen Mo took out some food.
The girl’s stomach growled loudly, but she shook her head.
Chen Mo ate a bite himself before handing her a portion. She hesitated, but the girl finally took the food very cautiously. Seeing her timid manner, Chen Mo was a bit heartbroken.
At this age, she should be enjoying her parent’s pampering, yet right now, she was hiding alone in this desolate pavilion.
“Where’s your family?” Chen Mo asked as they ate. The girl was naturally sensitive, so he made his tone appear as soft as he possibly could.
The girl shook her head, continuing to nibble away, her posture exceedingly graceful.
From watching the way she ate, Chen Mo’s heart had a satisfaction even greater than as if he had broken through to Three Flowers Overhead Realm. “Don’t you have family?”
The girl nodded.
Chen Mo was still quite perplexed. Although the girl’s appearance was very unkempt, he could see that she had a noble upbringing. She did not seem to have come from a commoner family. However, in the Star Fields, the flames of war raged everywhere. Ruined families and orphaned children were a common occurrence. Chen Mo did not think about this any further.
Perhaps she was a survivor from a destroyed aristocratic family. But seeing that she was on her own, Chen Mo was still very concerned for her.
The girl was apparently very reticent, not fond of talking at all.
“I’m called Chen Mo, what’s your name?” Chen Mo asked her. “Our encounter can be considered fateful.”
Hesitating a moment, the girl uttered her name so softly, she was nearly inaudible.
“Nianyou?” Chen Mo felt this name was very pleasant.
“Chen Mo, who’re you talking to?” Zhongli Sanmei walked over.
Upon seeing her, Nianyou all of a sudden curled into a ball in terror, as if she was a hedgehog. Her frail little body could not help but shiver involuntarily, making Chen Mo very saddened all of a sudden.
“???” Zhongli Sanmei furrowed her brow.
Chen Mo went “Shh,” hinting that she had scared the girl. Zhongli Sanmei twitched her lips, then turned to go to another side of the pavilion.
“She’s my friend, Zhongli Sanmei, not a bad person either.” Chen Mo very brazenly hugged the little girl.
Nianyou lowered her head, not saying a word.
Chen Mo then asked her about her circumstances, but it was very clear that Nianyou did not want to answer at all. He could only force himself to smile.
A little while after, the rain began to stop.
“We can go now.” Zhongli Sanmei said.
Chen Mo rose. Seeing Nianyou’s unmoved appearance, he pondered a moment. He was still a bit reluctant to leave such a small child to brave wind and dew outside, to drift about everywhere. “Nianyou, come with me.”
Nianyou lifted her head and blinked.
“From now on, I’ll take care of you. I used to have a little sister about the same age as you.” Chen Mo extended his hand, making his most sincere appeal.
“If you believe in me, I’ll look after you.”
Time stopped for a very long while. The rain had already abated.
The girl said nothing.
Chen Mo kept his hand extended in invitation all this time. After a long while, the girl finally believed in his sincerity.
The two of them held hands.