Chapter 1 – Born with Eight Fingers (I)
To look upon all of the townships of the continent, one must start from the weakest of the kingdoms, where the kingdom of Arcadia was undoubtedly the smallest. Located in the southeast, it was bordered on both sides by a boundless ocean. In addition, both coastal regions were claimed and ruled by two powerful empires encompassing the land. On account of being the continent’s core, requests for assistance must go through the Blue Diasempire before help can be sent. If that was the case, the kingdom of Arcadia may already be destroyed prematurely without notice. The story began in the Arcadian capital, Luna city.
From the southern part of the continent, the fiery, blazing sun rose in the sky, bringing with it a scorching stream of scaldingly hot air. Everyone bathed in the sunshine, as if their bodies were burning coals. All of them perspired heavily in the heat. Although it was morning, the streets of Luna city had yet to awaken. The whole city appearing to be quite lazy. It was not surprising that people chose to say that it was the reason why the two formidable empires, Blue Dias and Wavast, chose to not divide Arcadia in half. Not only was this because the Blue Dias empire chose to intervene, it was also because the city served as the hottest place on the continent.
Naturally, the only exception at this sleepy moment in Luna city had just arrived to stand in front of the city’s Magic Guild: an old, spry man.
He wore a white, creaseless magic robe that suited him well. A wrinkled face indicated old age, and silver-white long hair was neatly combed to the back of the head. The mage possessed a tall build. In comparison to ordinary Arcadians, he stood taller by at least half a head. Within the folds of his right sleeve, he held a slender staff used to support his body. It was improbable to believe, however, that he depended on the staff to support his body because the mage’s eyes were vibrant and as deep as an abyss, a peerlessly clear pair of black eyes. The old mage narrowed his eyes, but the faint light still revealed that the door had carelessly been left open.
“Praise Blue Dias. Hello revered mage. Sir, may I ask if I can provide you with any assistance?” Pi’er Luo recently exited the Magic Guild and saw the old mage. The old mage did not wear any expensive attire or magic goods. Even his magic robe, which covered his upper and lower body, did not possess any elemental volatility, making it difficult to distinguish his rank. However, Pi’er Luo was a yellow ranked mage at the Magic Guild of Luna city for over 20 years, making him trust his intuition. Only those who chose to show off their talents would wear magic robes with symbols that reflected their magical might, and before his eyes was an old mage that at least surpassed the age of 70. How could he only be an elementary mage? Furthermore, his wrinkled forehead did not even have a single drop of perspiration.
“Praise Blue Dias,” the old mage’s voice sounded extraordinarily gentle and melodic. Although it was somewhat muffled, it resembled a spring breeze, bathing people in refreshing coolness and lessening the severity of the scorching air. “I have arrived from Blue Dias to ask to see the guild’s interim president.”
Pi’er Luo’s body abruptly stiffened, eyes brimming with amazement and ecstasy. To arrive from Blue Dias? He originates from Blue Dias; on the continent, even the most ordinary civilians, upon hearing this sentence, would understand the meaning of it. Luna city’s guild president passed away two years ago. Ever since that event two years ago, the Arcadian Magic Guild’s presidential office had remained empty. To arrive from Blue Dias, could it be…?
What was the continent’s most majestic profession? A mage. Perhaps there were some people that did not believe in God’s existence, but there were none that did not worship a mage. Blue Dias claimed a portion of the continent which contained a terrain of fertile soil that was approximately half the size of the kingdom of Arcadia. No other country dared to fight this claim because it was the holy land of mages. Every country firmly believed that Blue Dias practically ruled the entire continent, excluding the Northern Wasteland.
Blue Dias was the holy land of mages. In addition, mages were the most fearsome people in the territory besides the Blue Dias Guardian Flange Legion. Only mages could enter Blue Dias. Entering was not a particularly difficult matter; however, desiring to leave Blue Dias was near impossible for mages despite their hopes. No one below indigo rank in strength was permitted to leave the place.
The levels of mages from the lowest to the highest of rank, whether it was an elementary mage, intermediate mage, advanced mage, great mage, magic scholar, magister or great magister, were all ranked by the colors of the rainbow. An elementary mage was equivalent to the first color of the rainbow, red. In a similar fashion, indigo rank was representative of a magister. The first six colors of the rainbow were subdivided into three levels. For example, Pi’er Luo was a yellow ranked mage at the intermediate level. The final color violet, equivalent to a great magister, was subdivided into nine levels, with an immense gap in strength between each level. The reason why Blue Dias was capable of being the holy land of mages was due to the seven story magic pagoda existing in the middle of Blue Dias. In every story of the pagoda, there was a ninth level violet ranked mage – the pinnacle of magic that everyone on the continent strived for.
Therefore, throughout the continent, identifying a person’s strength was very easy as magic, when released, possessed an indicative color that distinguished its own strength.
“Please, enter,” Pi’er Luo said humbly and stepped aside with reverence.
The old mage’s face held a glimpse of a smile and gave a slight nod to Pi’er Luo as he followed him into the Magic Guild.
The guild hall contained a plethora of magical elements; on the ground, a mithril Six-Star Tessellation was inlaid, radiating a faint silver light. The guild hall was very spacious. The great relationship between Arcadia and the smaller kingdoms, in addition to the scarcity of mages, meant that there was no choice but to employ them all constantly, causing the hall to be completely deserted. Thus, despite the Magic Guild’s high status in the kingdom, the guild itself was cold and cheerless.
Pi’er Luo and the old mage did not wait for very long. After a short while, another old mage appeared in the guild hall to invite them in. This mage was attired in a cyan magic robe, its exterior resembling the old mage quite well.
“Praise Blue Dias. Hello, mage from a distant location. I am the Arcadian Magic Guild interim president, Fire Mage Di Ya La,” he said, slowly bowing to the old white robed mage. At the same time, his right hand emitted a cyan flame to illustrate his exact position as a primary level cyan ranked mage. This was a majestic etiquette among mages as a way to be made aware of Di Ya La’s status in Arcadia. However, even the king did not need to know his rank. The reason why he was so respectful to the old white robed mage was because he originated from Blue Dias.
“Praise Blue Dias. I am called Qin Shang. I have arrived from Blue Dias because of a letter.” Qin Shang switched his wooden staff to his left hand, extending his right hand towards Di Ya La as he materialized, in a flash of brilliant light, a sheepskin scroll in the hollow of his palm.
Whether it was Pi’er Luo or Di Ya La, both of them were stupefied at what they had just witnessed because they could clearly see, despite the dimness, that the faint light materializing in Qin Shang’s hand was violet.
Di Ya La’s hands trembled as he took the sheepskin scroll, slowly unfurling it to discover that the sheepskin scroll was blank. Di Ya La, however, did not sense anything strange. His gaze subconsciously drifted towards Qin Shang.
Chapter 1 – Born with Eight Fingers (II)
Qin Shang waved his right hand, and once again, a faint violet light covered the sheepskin scroll. Immediately, blocks of characters emerged from under the faint violet radiance. Di Ya La was elated, reading aloud, “|By decree, primary level violet ranked Divine Music mageQin Shang is to be appointed as president of the Arcadian Magic Guild.| Ah, you are a Divine Music mage?” Di Ya La’s and Pi’er Luo’s shock shifted to horror at this revelation.
One’s spirit was connected to their chosen magic specialization; as a Divine Music mage, magic was linked with the ability to play musical instruments to release magic. Throughout the continent, Divine Music mages could be said to be the most expensive specialization and the most dubious of worth. Divine Music mages had a very difficult time surpassing the yellow rank. At most, they would boost minor morale on the battlefield. Until recently, only the daughter of a noble or a princess of a country would be interested in studying in this majestic yet dubious magic. Before their eyes, however, was a violet ranked Divine Music mage. Di Ya La couldn’t believe his eyes. The scroll had six beautiful silver stars revolving around an ancient dark blue symbol at the bottom right corner. This symbol represented the seven story Blue Dias magic pagoda. Clearly, the person called Qin Shang was a mage who passed through the magic pagoda to gain the ability to arrive here. In addition, he actually released violet-tinted magic, once again proving his status to be true.
Qin Shang’s aged face displayed an expression of contemplation as he faced northwest in the direction of the magic pagoda. Ah, the experience was something he would not forget for a very long time. That was the true magic!
Di Ya La soon returned to normal. The Blue Dias decree was impossible to falsify, so he hastily rolled up the sheepskin scroll delivered by Qin Shang. “Di Ya La and Pi’er Luo greet the new president.”
Qin Shang recovered the scroll, saying, “At the moment, how many Arcadian mages are there?”
Hearing Qin Shang’s inquiry, Di Ya La couldn’t refrain himself from expressing a trace of bitterness.“ Arcadia, myself included, possesses one cyan ranked mage, three green ranked mages, 24 yellow ranked mages, 67 orange ranked mages, and 213 red ranked mages. The majority of them are members of the military, leaving the guild with only a dozen people.”
Qin Shang’s face displayed a faint trace of astonishment. “Is it so little? Although the path of a mage is a long journey, Arcadia has tens of millions of people. Don’t tell me that the mages here only amount to 300? Ah, I recall that number of mages in other countries do not seem to be as sparse as it is here!”
Di Ya La sighed and replied, “In the past it was not so little, and the kingdom of Arcadia has always been renowned for our fire mages. At the moment, however, the kingdom’s strength has weakened, and the two empires now share the claim of possessing the strongest mages. It is natural to be willing to leave everything behind to travel to either of the two empires. At this moment, you have arrived, a violet ranked Great Magister! We, Arcadia, have already existed for several hundred years without the emergence of a powerful violet ranked mage. I am convinced that the Arcadian Magic Guild, under your guidance, will rise to power.” Although, he was no longer young, he couldn’t help but feel excited, gazing at Qin Shang with a somewhat fanatical expression.
At the same time, an elegant, melodic voice echoed from the outside, “Master Di Ya La is not in?”
Di Ya La’s face held a trace of a smile even as he faced Qin Shang and made an apologetic sound. He left to welcome his guest. A short while later, a young woman following Di Ya La entered the hall.
The woman was exceptionally beautiful, long black hair framing a fair face. Even with the slight plumpness of her face, her noble temperament remained unaffected. She was adorned in a long jade green skirt. No matter who was walking by, they would have to straighten and take notice of her slender waist and seemingly impossible curves. Currently, her arms were full of swaddling clothes, soft breathing emitting from the sleeping infant within.
Looking at the woman, Qin Shang’s eyes brightened. His narrowed eyes slowly opened, radiantly twinkling.
The woman immediately sensed those luminous twinkling eyes on her. Her elegant eyebrows creased together before her eyes flashed with a cyan light. She looked towards Qin Shang. Their gazes crossed for a split second, and the light in the woman’s eyes immediately dimmed, becoming absent-minded. When she returned back to normal, her face changed drastically as she subconsciously hugged the infant closer to her bosom.
Di Ya La was confused, facing toward the woman and saying, “Mei Ying, where is Ye Zhong? Why didn’t he accompany you. Didn’t you just give birth barely a month ago?”
Mei Ying subconsciously traversed half a step, smiling at him, “Ah, he is currently training his dou qi. Thus, I came here alone. Master, our child is already a month old. Please, I must beseech you to grant him your blessing.” Mages gave protection blessings to newborn babies when they turned a month old. The higher ranked the mage, the healthier the blessed infant will grow. This blessing was unrestricted by magic specialization.
Di Ya La laughed, smiling as he promised, “No problem, I had already said at an earlier time that I would bless your child after he was born. Oh, by the way, let me introduce you to the newly appointed guild president arriving from Blue Dias, Qin Shang.” Although his friend had arrived, he did not forget about the newly appointed president standing to the side.
Mei Ying had not forgotten about her eyes becoming hazy and dim earlier, but she merely greeted him, “Praise Blue Dias. Hello, Master.”
Qin Shang began to speak, opening his mouth, only to hear a resonant infant cry emerging from the swaddling of clothes. A pair of lotus white arms appeared from the swaddling clothes, exploratively waving and seemingly breaking free from the mother’s arms.
Qin Shang paused abruptly, mouth hanging open, at the sight of Mei Ying’s baby’s two hands. Those two delicately small and white hands only had four fingers; the little finger was missing on both hands. This was the first time he displayed a substantial change in expressions since he had arrived at the Magic Guild. Moreover, this shock-influenced change, to an extent, was witnessed by many people.
In one step, Qin Shang was already standing in front of Mei Ying, his aged face excited and somewhat flushed. He raised his trembling hands to touch the small, twinkling, crystal, milky white hands that were as tender as spring onions. His movement was swift, resembling a warrior more than a mage.
“What are you doing?” Mei Ying shouted in a high-pitched voice, taking two steps backwards. Even though Qin Shang’s speed was not slow, he felt like he only touched a phantom.
Not continuing his motions, Qin Shang’s eyes followed the two delicately small hands, lifelessly staring at them. With his hands still raised up, he said, “Eight fingers, to unexpectedly be born naturally with eight fingers is a sign of genius. Ah, this is absolutely a genius!”
Di Ya La was startled by the sudden scene, quickly advancing forward a few steps and stopping in between Mei Ying and Qin Shang. Anxiously, he said, “Don’t get me wrong, don’t misunderstand me, Master Qin Shang. You, you, this is……”
Qin Shang, after all, was a Great Magister. His face slowly returned to tranquility, head lowered, as he looked down at the ground with the inlaid magical mithril Six-Star Tessellation. He pondered for a long time before his eyes lit up with elation, clapping his hands together happily like a child. “Praise Blue Dias. I have a tendency to act first, that’s all.”
Raising his head, he looked at Mei Ying and her wary yet inquisitive eyes. Qin Shang slightly smiled, and even though his whole face was wrinkled, his exquisite clothing and demeanor still exuded grace. “Miss Mei Ying, you have arrived today to obtain a magical blessing for your child, correct?”
Mei Ying nodded her head.
Qin Shang’s gaze shifted over to Di Ya La, “If this is the case, let me bestow the blessing upon this child.”
Chapter 1 – Born with Eight Fingers (III)
Di Ya La looked distracted. Getting a baby’s one month blessing from an Elementary mage was already very difficult, not to mention from a violet ranked Great Magister. Ah, only powerful princes and princesses received such treatment!
“This……” Di Ya La looked towards Mei Ying. Because he was sixty-seven years old this year, he could tell that Qin Shang’s expression changed when he saw Mei Ying’s child, and he couldn’t help but be hesitant. Since Mei Ying was married, how could he explain if their child was hurt?
Mei Ying’s eyes showed a faint coldness, making the pride deep in her bones more obvious. “Honored president, I would like to know why.”
The calmness in Qin Shang’s eyes changed when he saw the pair of little hands, and his eyes showed profound emotion. His voice even sounded a bit more magnetic. “It’s because of his hands. I see the world’s most perfect hands. Miss Mei Ying, I meant no harm.”
Mei Ying’s coldness gradually disappeared. Indeed, in front of her was Qin Shang, a magister of some kind. Although his eyes were filled with an eager light and radiance, they did not have the slightest bit of malice. Rather, they were full of intimacy. Her face couldn’t help but twist once Qin Shang lifted her son’s hands. “Master Qin Shang, why do you say that my son’s hands are the most perfect in the world? Are you mocking me?”
Man had two hands, each with five fingers. For a warrior, even a single finger was extremely important. Although Mei Ying was concerned that her child lost his left and right little finger, it also greatly affected his ability to hold a weapon because he was unable to grip even a sword. Which parents did not want their children to be perfect? Mei Ying was no exception. The rest of her child was perfect, but the fact that he was born with eight fingers made her heartbroken. The eight fingers had dictated that their child could not become a fencing master, but, ah, that was the family’s hope!
“Oh, no, no. Praise Blue Dias. I swear in the name of Blue Dias, I did not mean to mock you.“ Qin Shang’s eyes brimmed with emotion as he looked after the struggling and crying baby, with an incredible amount of loving kindness displayed on the surprisingly soft lines on his face. “Perhaps for others, these are incomplete hands, but, for people like me, they are absolutely perfect. Wait a moment. You will understand.”
Di Ya La and Pi’er Luo watched as Qin Shang slowly sat down crossed-legged in front of Mei Ying. A light flashed from his right hand, and Mei Ying vaguely caught a glimpse of a ring on Qin Shang’s right little finger. It was a space ring, the magister’s most important instrument.
A seven-stringed, reddish brown zither appeared on his knees, with a faint silvery glow. With both hands on the strings, Qin Shang’s face changed dramatically.
His old face became dull and meek, and his body was filled with the breath of life. It was as if he had been sitting there maintaining his posture since the ancient times. For a split second, he touched the white, silver-haired strings of the zither with both hands. Everyone and everything merged together in the Magic Guild hall. Subconsciously, everyone’s eyes focused on his body.
His left hand lifted above the zither’s string. He lightly hooked the string with his right thumb and index finger and lightly touched the fifth string with his middle and ring finger. His thumb relaxed, and, while raising his index finger to the sky, he lightly plucked the seventh string. He drew out a rich, deep buzz that spiraled and lingered through the air, and in an instant, the air seemed to freeze. The baby’s crying quietly stopped.
The infant, with his bright, black eyes, looked towards the sound and softly babbled.
Whether an Advanced Mage like Pi’er Luo, a Mage Scholar like Di Ya La, or a fighter like Mei Ying, hearing such a clear and pure sound cleansed all of the impurities in their bodies and their blood with an unprecedented permeability. An indescribable feeling of comfort filled them.
“You can perform Withered Wood and Dragon’s Roar…” All of the hidden hostility in Mei Ying’s eyes vanished. She looked at Qin Shang, astonished and pleased.
Qin Shang simply smiled in response. Both hands began to move. His left hand lightly pressed down, and his right hand swept to the side. A touching melody floated through the air. The zither’s sound was exquisite and delicate. His fingers moved smoothly and lightly at a brisk rhythm, yet with control. He swung back and forth and side to side emotionally, chanting in his heart. In a faint violet light, his hands moved rhythmically with the silver strings. The hall became encompassed in a halo of violet light, but the light did not spread.
Elementary Mage power was undoubtedly more powerful compared to the average person, but Pi’er Luo and Di Ya La were already moving, lost in the music. Their eyes were filled with joy and confusion, forgetting about time and space.
Mei Ying was the only one who remained clear-headed. She did not know that her spirit power was far better than an Elementary Mage, but she still remained sober. She could clearly see that the dim violet light gathered towards the direction of the baby in her arms.
Mei Ying looked down at her baby to find that he was no longer crying. She was astonished to see that her son was smiling. Exactly when did this happen? Both hands, each with only four fingers, were gently waving in the air to the sound of the zither. His waving hands matched the music, and the faint violet light delicately worked its way into his body, which began to go through bizarre changes.
Was this actually happening? Mei Ying became aware of her feelings and only recovered after the zither’s sound quietly ended, after what seemed like one’s lifetime.
“Meandering brocade, dripping in the goblet. The chord loosens a treasured harmonic pillar. The roasted silver bamboo reed. The spring thunder of the zither, meld into the song<<Green Water>>. They were the most suitable sounds to baptize this child in.” Qin Shang’s voice pulled Mei Ying back from her dream-like state. Mei Ying lifted her head to see Qin Shang’s eyes shining with silver light and that the zither had already disappeared. She looked at the baby in her arms to find that he was asleep. Even his breathing was pleasant and peaceful. The baby’s skin seemed to become more shiny, and his face wore a little smile.
“Gifted! He is absolutely gifted! My judgment wasn’t wrong. Even though he had just turned a month old, he could really sense my beautiful zither. I truly envy your ancestors! Why can’t I be in his place? Now you should understand why I admire his perfect, little hands. For a zither player, the left and right hand’s little finger is forbidden from use, so this has no effect on learning the zither. The little finger is unnecessary and will definitely be an interference. As a Divine Music Mage, I know too much about this. There was a legend that a man with six fingers on both hands performed six-fingered zither magic, but that is completely made up. Playing with eight fingers is enough. Ah, being born with eight fingers is perfect!” Qin Shang sighed.
“Master, you……” Mei Ying attempted to ask something, but her proud words disappeared. The body did not release violet light, but before it was <<Green Water>>, and the sound was Withered Wood and Dragon’s Roar.
Qin Shang spoke: “I am from Blue Dias. If not for the blue sky and sea, why would I come here? I wanted to find a disciple to pass on my legacy, but I didn’t expect such a gift from your family and ancestors. Let’s go, take me to your father in-law. Ye Li, oh, Ye Li, you have disappeared for ten years. I don’t know if your body is still strong.”
Chapter 1 – Born with Eight Fingers (IV)
Qin Shang smiled humbly, making a silencing gesture. “Apparently, after over twenty years of absence, I must request a proper discussion with Old Ye Li.”
Mei Ying glanced towards Pi’er Luo and Di Ya La, quietly inquiring, “ Master, what should they do?”
Qin Shang gently coughed, his eyes flashing violet. The two men woke up from their perplexed state, Di Ya La exclaiming loudly, “Extremely beautiful, this is extremely beautiful indeed. Praise Blue Dias. This is the first time I have been made aware of such a powerful Divine Music mage. I wish to be able to ask you for guidance several times later on in the future.”
Qin Shang shook his head and responded, “You sense the spirit of a powerful mage but are unable to appreciate it. The difference between the spirit and element is still too large.” He said these words to Di Ya La and Pi’er Luo before turning towards Mei Ying and sending her a meaningful glance.
Mei Ying understood, “Many thanks, Master Qin Shang, for blessing my child with your magic. I insist that Great Master visit and tour the Desolate Jade Sea where my husband and I will do the honors of hosting you. How about that?”
Qin Shang nodded, saying, “You’re welcome. I’ll be there.”
Somewhat startled, Di Ya La said, “Praise Blue Dias. Ah, Mei Ying, even I seemed to have not received such treatment!”
Mei Ying smiled and quipped, “There may be an opportunity later on in the future. Master Qin Shang, please.”
The Desolate Jade Sea was an isolated jade green sea empty of anything except bamboo! Therefore, the Desolate Jade Sea referred to a prosperous, densely thick, lush bamboo forest.
The Desolate Jade Sea was located 30 kilometers west of Luna city. Bamboo stalks of various lengths grew and created a unique scenery with faintly flickering lights. Visibly, the azure bamboo stalks stood loftily, flexibly swaying like green rays of light.
To the Arcadians, the Desolate Jade Sea was an exotic location that produced an abundance of fresh bamboo shoots. However, no one could venture deep into the Desolate Jade Sea nor could anyone completely understand the Desolate Jade Sea and its vastness. It bordered the kingdom of Arcadia and the western fringes of the Blue Dias empire. Every individual that tried to penetrate the Desolate Jade Sea and solve the unfathomable mystery surrounding it inevitably appeared again by themselves and empty-handed. No one knew why. This bamboo forest, other than cultivating bamboo shoots, did not produce any other rich specialities. Thus, no one paid attention to it nor disturbed it.
The difference in temperature between the Desolate Jade Sea and Luna city was immense. Possibly due to the jade bamboo stalks growing there, the Desolate Jade Sea naturally dissipated the scorching heat of the atmosphere.
Mei Ying embraced her beloved son as she and Qin Shang visited the Desolate Jade Sea. “Senior, you are so physically fit to be able to walk for so long without even a sign of fatigue. For you to be a mage of this caliber, this is the first time I have seen such a mage!” she exclaimed.
30 kilometers for a warrior was of no consequence, but for a mage, the distance was quite lengthy. Careful examination revealed that a faint circle of air swirled around the infant in the swaddling clothes; this was the result of Mei Ying utilizing her Dou Qi to protect her beloved son from the scorching weather.
Qin Shang bitterly laughed, “Did you not hear? Hundreds of mages do not use Divine Music. As a Divine Music mage, I do not have the proper magic specialization for an acceleration technique, and I did not want any attendants. When traveling all over the continent, it is best to rely on one’s own two legs. Over time, it allows you to travel farther than ordinary people and to possess more physical power than other mages.”
As he was talking, Qin Shang discovered that the bamboo forest in front of them turned somewhat illusionary. Smiling knowingly, he conveniently broke the root of a bamboo stalk with one hand. He walked forward. His hand beat the bamboo stalk like he was beating a drum, and his motions rapidly slowed down to create an unusual sound vibration. Furthermore, he did not allow Mei Ying to guide the way, immediately walking into the depths of the bamboo forest. Ordinary civilians would have never been able to surpass the Desolate Jade Sea, but as he was the visitor in question, what could possibly detain him?
The slow pace was in actually rapidly fast, but Mei Ying was unsurprised due to earlier presumptions. She followed closely at Qin Shang’s heels, entering the depths of the bamboo forest.
Close to the center of the Desolate Jade Sea, a neat row of bamboo houses were arranged to surround a grove of bamboo stalks that was the size of ten rooms, the shadows of the bamboo dancing elegantly. Unperturbed, Mei Ying and Qin Shang arrived in front of a bamboo house, and a hoarse voice emerged from the bamboo house, “Ying’er, don’t tell me you have brought along a stranger? Have you forgotten what I have told you?”
Mei Ying opened her mouth to speak, but Qin Shang already began scolding, “I see you are well, Ye Li. Yet, you’re unwilling to see even your old friends?”
The door of the bamboo house opened, and as quick as lightning, the silhouette of a figure arrived instantly to welcome Mei Ying and Qin Shang. Although the movement was swift, it was very natural and fluid without any feeling of abruptness.
Ye Li was somewhat taller than Qin Shang and had long ash grey hair loosely draping over his shoulders and behind his back. His face was significantly less wrinkled than Qin Shang’s. He looked to be in his fifties, with a perfectly straight back and intimidating radiant eyes. He was undoubtedly a mature man who had experienced the vicissitudes of life. Seeing Qin Shang, his generously large pair of hands rose to seize his shoulders, and Qin Shang did not evade him.
“Old partner, why did you come to visit? It has been over 20 years since we have last seen each other,” Ye Li exclaimed excitedly.
Qin Shang’s calm demeanor vanished in front of Ye Li, making a somewhat comical expression as he said, “Look at you! You are so young, while I am old, and you still practice Dou Qi, good! Ah, magic really does accelerate the aging process. I still remember when I only looked a year older than you.”
Ye Li snapped, “Young? Do you not see my hair rapidly turning white? Please, let’s continue our conversation inside.” He stepped to the side, pulling Qin Shang into the room. In the process, he caught a glimpse of Mei Ying and his grandson.
The interior of the bamboo house was simple, containing nothing more than a bamboo couch, a bamboo table, and a bamboo chair.