Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 598
AST 598 - The Legend of the Red-Lined Snake of Marriage Affinity, Singing Scriptures
’’I miss my mother, but unfortunately, she's no longer around.’’ Di Chen had a distant expression, as if she were immersed in her memories.
’’Let bygones be bygones. We still need to continue moving forward. They wouldn't want us living in pain, misery and self-blame.’’ Qing Shui consoled as he noticed Di Chen's dimmed expression.
’’I'm alright. It's Just that when I'm lonely, I reminisce the times when I was young and being accompanied by my parents. I really miss those days, but it pains me to think about those memories sometimes.’’ Di Chen said softly.
’’I understand. Qing Qing was like this in the past as well, she was very lonely. It was as if the world had abandoned her, but she had a strong conviction. That conviction was able to support her until my mother and I went to look for her. Sister Chen, can you tell me what your motivation is?’’ Qing Shui asked sincerely as he glanced at Di Chen sideways.
’’Trying to dig up about my past again? Qing Shui, do you really want to know?’’ Di Chen stilled her emotions, and started to smile faintly at Qing Shui. There was really nothing more that one could demand from her perfectly refined face.
’’I just want to see if I can be of any help. As I've told you before, I am absolutely willing if you have any request.’’ This was the first time Qing Shui had laid his eyes on Di Chen's lovely face for such a length of time.
’’I feel lost. Actually, I've been directionless for quite a period of time now. Especially when it comes to relationships...I don't have any familial love, and I am afraid of romantic relationships. Yet, I know that I need to love someone, but I don't know who to love.’’ Di Chen looked to the distance, her eyes misted over.
Perhaps it was because she could feel his sincerity, or because Qing Shui was the first person who she didn't dislike in many years. It might even be due to that pleasant experience they had at the dream among the sea of flowers. Now, they were even going to Di Clan together. This was why she could tell Qing Shui the things which others would never hear from her.
’’You will definitely find your true love. Sister Chen, Qing Clan is your family. The members of Qing Clan are all your relatives. If you could just try to open up your heart and accept others, you may be able to find so much joy.’’ Qing Shui was able to understand her loneliness, but he didn't know how he could help. It's really only up to her if she wants to walk out of such pain.
’’Thank you. Actually, I already do consider the Qing Clan my family, and I do feel some happiness.’’ A gentle smile appeared on her face as she looked toward Qing Shui.
To reach the Central Continent, Qing Shui had to travel west for another ten thousand miles. After twenty days, they finally arrived at a vast, and seemingly boundless savana. The skies were turning dark at that point.
The dense foliage of green, two feet tall grasses were scarce here. Instead, the landscape was filled with tongue ferns that grew as tall as humans, as well as goat weeds, rose roots, agrimonies and so on...
Off in the distance, there were herds of wild goats, onagers, bisons, wild boars and red Lions...
Most of the creatures that lived here were Wild beasts, with only a few Ferocious beasts and Demonic beasts, which appeared occasionally. Wild beasts appeared in staggering numbers ranging from thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands and even millions. Even Xiantian Demonic beasts had to give way to such huge herds.
This was the first time that Qing Shui felt so close to nature ever since he found himself in the World of the Nine Continents. As he scanned the vast savanna and admired the herds of wild beasts, he had the feeling that everything was extremely beautiful. He even fancied the idea of living here with his family in the future. He would hunt every day and ride horses with his children and beloved women. This could be a desirable lifestyle.
Qing Shui quickly shook away that thought. It may be fun to come here for a few days, but living here for an extended time would be so lonely. It wouldn't be long before they start missing the variety and complexity of the outside world.
Qing Shui only started to pitch his tent when he noticed that it was late. He released his Diamond Gigantic Elephant and Fire Bird so that they could roam about freely on the savanna.
As the two powerful demonic beasts suddenly appeared, the herds of beasts started to flee. The mass exodus of ten thousand beasts was a breathtaking scene, the ground also started to rumble with noise.
Qing Shui read history books in his previous life. He knew that in ancient times, a battle scene consisting of a charging cavalry of ten thousand would be a massive sight to behold, and capable of making emotions flare. Even though Qing Shui was already so powerful, such a scene still stirred his emotions and made him feel hot-blooded. He almost felt an impulse to charge forth riding a horse
For a change, Qing Shui and Di Chen rode on the Fire Bird to fly above the vast savanna on the second day!
’’Oh, there are actually people living here.’’ Qing Shui said as he looked down at the multiple tents below them. The entire area with the tents was fenced up by a metal railing, and there were traps laid outside.
Qing Shui observed as the groups of people that were holding weapons, scourge the lands for beasts which got separated from their herd. The men were all tall, muscular and violent. It was a pity that they were not skilled in martial arts, but only naturally strong and valiant.
The group spot a bison that was traversing alone. They took their spears, metal clubs and bows, and slowly surrounded the creature. The bison was about two metres tall and four meters in length. Its body was covered in sinewy muscles and looked quite strong.
Qing Shui watched the hunt with interest. This group was from a small community that had to struggle and survive in the massive savanna.
An arrow pierced the bison's eye. It was fast and accurate!
The bison let out a mad howl and started charging toward the one who had shot the arrow. At that point, two people who had been hiding at a side struck the bison's feet with their metal clubs.
The bison may have been quite sturdy and strong, but its four legs were actually quite weak. Such a blow managed to break both its front legs. Despite its strength, it fell to the ground as it could only wait to be slaughtered.
The others flocked forward and killed the bison with a hit in an instant. After that those people walked back to their ’’village’’ with their kill!
The Fire Bird soon flew past them, and the people disappeared from Qing Shui's view. The natural world was cruel;wild beasts against wild beasts;human against wild beasts;humans against humans. It was all the same, only the strong can survive, and only the strong will not get bullied.
The law of the jungle in the natural world applied to humans too!
The savanna was extremely vast. As they headed toward its center, the vegetation grew denser and the plants got taller. Occasionally, there were swaths of forests and rivers, and some of the forests even had natural lakes.
When they reached deep into the savanna, they could only basically see demonic beasts. Even Martial King Demonic beasts could be commonly spotted.
’’It seems like we will have to camp here overnight.’’ Di Chen said after looking at the sky.
’’What's the matter? Are you afraid?’’ Qing Shui asked. It was dark now, there were barely any sign of other humans because they were so deep in the savanna, which made the place seem quite eerie.
There were constant howls from beasts, which mixed with the howls of the wind and gave off an uneasy feeling. Normal folks would have been scared to death.
’’I am not afraid since you're right here with me.’’ Di Chen said with a slight smile.
It was only after she finished her sentence that she realized her words hinted at their ambiguous relationship. She was not shocked by this, but she was shocked at the fact that she actually said something like that to a man. This could only mean that she was gradually getting used to a person, and getting familiar with that person...
’’Then, let's land and set up camp here!’’ Qing Shui wasn't able to notice the change in Di Chen's expression.
They landed on a small, stone hill. They had intentionally scouted such a location, since the field of view was wide and there was some distance between them and the forest.
The moon was high in the sky, and moonlight poured down over the savanna like water. They could see various nocturnal demonic beasts appearing occasionally to hunt and scavenge for food.
Qing Shui caught a musk deer nearby after he'd set up the tent. He butched the deer skillfully, cleared its guts and cleaned it. Di Chen looked at him silently from the side as he barbecued the meat.
Due to this man that was beside her, she felt grounded. She'd already found herself seeing him as a tall and powerful man. She smiled as she recalled the memories she shared with him and realized that that felt a faint joy.
’’Sister Chen, this is for you!’’ Qing Shui handed her the back leg of the cooked deer.
’’Okay, It smells good. The things you cook are the best tasting food I've had.’’ Di Chen did not thank him. They'd agreed not to thank each other since it seemed to push them apart.
Qing Shui was very happy when he heard Di Chen's words. It was quite rare to get a compliment from her!
’’If you'd like, I can cook for you anytime you want.’’ Qing Shui laughed as he tore a piece of meat with his teeth, talking while he ate.
Qing Shui replied in this manner without much thought, he didn't even consider the ambiguous implications behind it. If he'd thought about it, he wouldn't have said that to Di Chen.
Even though he might've not had any hidden agendas, it didn't mean that others wouldn't misinterpret the meaning. Di Chen lowered her head, she felt a warmth in her heart. With what Qing Shui said, she realized the person who currently treated her the best was him. Most importantly, they understood each other and had travelled such a long distance together.
Suddenly, Qing Shui stood still as he looked at the area not far from them.
Perhaps it was because Qing Shui maintained that posture a little too long, Di Chen also raised her head to take a look. A complex expression suddenly appeared on her face, she then blushed a little as she snuck a peek at Qing Shui.
It turned out that there was a snake a few meters in front of them. It was a meter in length and its girth was approximately that of a little finger. Its full body was translucent green, except for a blood-red line on its back which stretched its entire length. The line was fine, but was intensely dark red, like blood.
Everyone in the central continent knows about the Red-lined snake. It was not a demonic beast, nor was it a wild beast. It won't attack people, and it is a creature of legend. In legend, it's said that it's a incarnation of the Child of Affinity that serves beside Yue Lao*. If it sees a couple that will eventually get married, it will specifically chose to appear. It has been said that even enemies marry each other if it made an appearance.
There were written accounts of such events in history books. Other than just enemies turning to married couples, there were also stories of marriages between master and disciple. Of all these accounts, the most famous story was about a man and his aunt. They saw the Red-lined snake, but such an incestous relationship was taboo. Both of them suffered to a point where they wanted to commit suicide, since their relationship would never be acknowledged. In the end, the clan revealed that his aunt was not the biological child of his grandfather, but an adopted daughter. After this event, the legend about the Red-lined snake spread through World of the Nine Continents. It's said that such a creature would never appear in front of couples whose marriage will not be acknowledged. If such an event were to occur, it would represent a marriage affinity made in heaven.
A Red-lined snake would rarely show itself for long. It would usually disappear in a span of a few breaths. Even though there were rumors that some people tried to catch one, there was never any news of anyone being successful.
The Red-lined snake left very quickly and disappeared almost instantaneously. If Qing Shui were alone, he would've assumed that it was just his imagination, but now both of them had seen the snake.
Now the Red-lined snake was no longer just a legend to them. It represented the longing between a man and a woman. Most loving couples would wish to meet a Red-lined snake, to prove that they were a match made in heaven.
Honestly, Qing Shui had never entertained any thoughts of a romantic relationship with Di Chen. He'd always thought of it as blasphemy. It was only when he saw the Red-lined snake that he realized the existence of that perspective, but he was terrified.
Di Chen seemed dumbfounded as she lowered her head slightly and didn't say a word. Qing Shui felt his heart at pounding with trepidation.
’’Sister Chen, it is only a legend. Don't take it seriously...’’ Qing Shui said while being rather stiff and slightly anxious, almost as if were mumbling.
’’Do you believe in the legend of Red-lined snake?’’ Di Chen lifted her head to face Qing Shui as she smiled gently.
Seeing Di Chen's smile, Qing Shui felt his heart calming down.
’’Of course not!’’ Qing Shui replied bluntly. After saying that however, he sensed that he had said something wrong. Such a reply would hurt the other person, who had also seen the snake. This made it clear that he had no intentions of having that sort of a relationship with the other person....
’’I didn't meant it that way...’’ In that moment, Qing Shui felt like he couldn't even control his mouth. A layer of cold sweat appeared on his forehead.
’’I know!’’ Di Chen said softly.
Qing Shui knew that his words had hurt her. It was almost as if the very thing that he didn't want to happen, had occurred. Qing Shui felt uncomfortable.
’’Sister Chen, you are as beautiful as a goddess. No ordinary folk is fit to be with you.’’ Qing Shui said as he looked at Di Chen. This was what Qing Shui truly meant and what he hoped to clarify.
’’Then, do you think I should just stay single all my life?’’ Di Chen laughed as she heard Qing Shui's words.
’’Of course not!’’
’’Are you an ordinary folk?’’ Di Chen laughed.
’’Of course, I am an ordinary man.’’
Once he answered, Qing Shui realized that he'd fallen for Di Chen's trap. Before he could think of something to say, he heard his exact thoughts.
’’If someone like you is considered an ordinary man, who else can I find?’’ Di Chen smiled at Qing Shui.
’’Well...a man befitting you will definitely appear.’’ Even Qing Shui found his words rather half-hearted, not that he was proud of himself.
’’Alright then. Since you compliment an elder sister like me in such a manner, I will look for you if I can't find a match, okay?’’ Di Chen seemed to say this light-heartedly.
’’The men who are in queue for a chance to marry Sister Chen can fill an entire continent. I am sure Sister Chen will be satisfied.’’ Qing Shui said quickly, smiling.
’’Then, do you wish to marry me?’’
Di Chen did not know what it was about today, but she felt like teasing this man who was younger than her. She had never even imagined doing such a thing in the past.
’’Can I marry you in the future?’’
’’Yes.’’ Qing Shui wasn't aware of how else to react. He could see that Di Chen was teasing him, so he just forced himself to say it in bravado.
’’In your dreams! Hey, I am going off to sleep. You should sleep early as well, good night.’’ Di Chen laughed and left after finishing her sentence.
Qing Shui looked at her beautiful back in a daze. This was the first time Qing Shui had heard Di Chen laugh in that light manner. Her voice was like a heavenly choral, with that slight magnetism, and a kind of power which seemingly manages to drive away any rationality.
*Yue Lao - a god of marriage and love in chinese mythology