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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 14, 2023 5 Comments
Table of Contents
Previous: Chapter 4
Next: Chapter 6

Chapter 5

Charming Appearance

Gu Fuyou, upon inquiring from the guards, felt that Zhong Michu led a really solitary life.

Usually, she would remain within her residence, never stepping out of the main or secondary gates, wholeheartedly devoted to cultivating the way of the sages.

With such pure cultivation, there was a fear that she would sever the seven emotions and six desires.

Perhaps drinking some tea and playing the zither would prevent her from completely losing touch with the mortal world.

An idea flashed in Gu Fuyou’s mind. Tea!

She was fortunate to have read a wide variety of books in the past, gaining a bit of knowledge about everything.

Making tea, she knew how to do that!

Drinking green tea in the autumn was perfect. right. That time during the deer chase, the place where the Zhuo Yue Deer was hiding had a large tea tree with thick leaves and thriving growth.

Plants growing in places rich in spiritual energy tend to be vibrant and full of vitality. Using such leaves to make tea would surely result in a good flavor.

Gu Fuyou went to pick tea leaves and brought them back. After sun-drying them, she proceeded to roast the tea. Looking around for equipment suitable for roasting tea, she found Si Miao’s alchemy furnace to be just what she needed.

An alchemy furnace had its advantages. The heat control was precise, and Gu Fuyou was very satisfied with the finished product.

However, when Si Miao found out that she had used her alchemy furnace, she pinned Gu Fuyou on the bed, clutching her neck, “Gu Fuyou! My furnace is now filled with the smell of your blasted tea! How dare you use my alchemy furnace to roast tea! Let’s not meet again in this life!”

Desperate, Gu Fuyou kept tapping on Si Miao’s arm, pleading, “Second Sister-in-law, Second Sister-in-law! I’m your future little sister-in-law. If you kill me, you’ll be stuck with my second brother as a resentful couple for eternity.”

Si Miao’s face reddened as she released her grip, spitting out, “Nonsense! You’ve been using this same trick since we were children.”

Gu Fuyou turned over, coughing and rubbing her neck. Si Miao was truly ruthless when she struck. She had always hated people touching her alchemy furnace, and only Gu Fuyou was fearless enough to anger the tiger despite knowing it was forbidden.

“You messed up my alchemy furnace, don’t think you can just brush it off with an apology.”

“I’ll wash it thoroughly inside and out for you, and then put it back into the furnace fire to temper it again!”

Si Miao crossed her arms, “And what else?”

“Plus, a bottle of Zhuling Pill.”

“Deal.”

Only then did Gu Fuyou manage to preserve her life. She took her tea set and sneaked into the rear peak of Jingdu Mountain to see Zhong Michu.

Upon reaching the courtyard wall, she saw fallen leaves scattered everywhere. The yard was silent, with no one practicing swordsmanship.

The doors and windows by the back courtyard were open, and one could see the bamboo curtain rolled up inside, with the bed curtains gently swaying.

The sound of a zither was faint, accompanied by warm fragrance, slowly drifting out.

Softly, Gu Fuyou called out, “Senior Sister Zhong, Senior Sister Zhong?”

A faint voice replied, “Come in.”

Gu Fuyou whispered an apology, “Sorry for the disturbance.”

She flipped over the courtyard wall. Squatting by the wall, she opened the food box and started boiling water to brew tea.

If the tea was brewed and then brought over, it would affect the taste. It was best to brew it on the spot to avoid affecting the flavor.

After preparing everything, Gu Fuyou, holding the tea set, walked into the room, calling out, “Senior Sister Zhong?”

Following the sound of the zither, she walked around the bed curtains and saw Zhong Michu kneeling in front of the bookshelf, with a jade zither on the table in front, a few books piled at the end of the zither, and a small beast-headed incense burner with a wisp of blue smoke curling upwards.

Gu Fuyou saw the pair of hands extending from those silk sleeves, plucking and pressing the strings with slender fingers, the zither music sounding like the trickling of water. She couldn’t help but think of a line from a play she had seen at Yinxue Pavilion.

Slender as bamboo shoots, fine and white as scallions, moist and fragrant, pure and flawless.

They were probably describing a pair of hands like these.

The zither music stopped. Zhong Michu lifted her head and looked at her, “What are you here for?”

Gu Fuyou placed the tea set on the table and touched the cup wall with the back of her hand. It was still warm from being rinsed with hot water earlier, “To please you.”

Zhong Michu showed a puzzled expression. After a long silence, she said, “Since I have already agreed to respond to your summons, my word is my bond. You don’t need to go to such lengths.”

Gu Fuyou smiled, “Courtesy demands reciprocity. If I ever find myself in danger and seek your help, I can’t expect your aid without doing something for you in return. It’s just that my spiritual power is limited, so I can only do small things. If Senior Sister Zhong needs any help in the future, feel free to ask.”

Gu Fuyou presented a cup of tea to Zhong Michu, saying, “Senior Sister Zhong, try it. I roasted this tea myself, I believe it tastes quite good.”

Zhong Michu glanced at Gu Fuyou. Seeing her not accepting the tea, Gu Fuyou leaned over the table, holding the cup closer to Zhong Michu.

Zhong Michu shifted her gaze from her face to the teacup in front of her.

A good tea is defined by its color, aroma, flavor, and appearance.

This tea appeared bright and tender green, with full and fresh leaves. It also has a rich and lasting aroma, with a sweet taste that is indeed tempting, making one’s mouth water and eagerly craving more.

Zhong Michu hesitated. Was there truly such a delightful tea aroma in the world?

Her gaze suddenly shot towards Gu Fuyou, only then realizing that this sweet scent was coming from Gu Fuyou’s body.

Zhong Michu abruptly stood up, knocking against the hand Gu Fuyou extended. The tea cup in Gu Fuyou’s hand tilted, spilling tea, and she, startled by the hot splash, let go of the cup. The tea spilled all over the books on the table.

Before Gu Fuyou could process why Zhong Michu had stood up so suddenly, she saw the tea-soaked books and realized she’d inadvertently created a mess. She moved to wipe the spilled tea off the books with her sleeve, saying, “I’m sorry, Senior Sister Zhong. I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Gu Fuyou picked up the book, intending to wipe off the tea stains inside. Since the book was open, the cover hadn’t shielded the pages, resulting in dark and reddish stains melding together on them.

Ordinary printed books wouldn’t have their ink smudged by a cup of tea. The reason the ink smudged was that someone had used red and black pens to circle and dot, writing many annotations and thoughts. When soaked in hot water, the ink smudged

Gu Fuyou stared at the book, momentarily stunned, and rapidly flipped through a few pages.

She burst into laughter.

This “New Interpretations of Array Formations” book was hers. The annotations and insights written on it were all penned by her. She had almost worn out the book from frequent readings, knowing its content by heart. She couldn’t possibly be mistaken about it.

She had left this book in her study earlier. However, when she needed it later and went to retrieve it, it had mysteriously vanished. Despite searching her entire study, she couldn’t find it.

How did it end up here?

Zhong Michu, upon seeing the now partially ruined book, wore a deeply furrowed frown. Taking a deep breath, she spoke in a subdued tone, “This book was a gift from Elder Liuhe for me to study formations. The unique annotations in it are invaluable, and there’s only one copy. You…”

Gu Fuyou stood up and approached Zhong Michu. With a hint of trembling excitement in her clear voice, she declared, “Senior Sister Zhong, this book is mine. Truly. Look here, I’ve underlined with red ink. These two characters, although scribbled, faintly spell out ‘Ah Man,’ which is my nickname. I lost this book and had no idea how it ended up here.”

As Gu Fuyou spoke, she moved closer to Zhong Michu. But as she neared, the distinctive scent around her became clearer, prompting Zhong Michu to take a step back, her brows furrowing even more deeply.

Gu Fuyou thought she didn’t believe her, so she hugged the book and raised four fingers to the sky, “Really, I… I swear, I swear to the heavens!”

Zhong Michu turned her head slightly, raising her arm so that the flowing sleeves shielded her nose.

The gesture clearly indicated that Zhong Michu detected some intolerable scent.

Gu Fuyou sniffed herself, not detecting any unpleasant odor.

In contrast, Zhong Michu appeared visibly disturbed, her gaze dark and resistant. This made Gu Fuyou wonder if there was something wrong with her own sense of smell.

Taking a step back, Gu Fuyou offered, “Senior Sister Zhong, I’ll make a new copy for you and include all the annotations and insights.”

She smiled, her face beaming with excitement.

Not waiting for Zhong Michu’s response, Gu Fuyou rushed out, calling out as she left, “It will be just like the original.”

“I’ll get it to you within three days. I promise!”

In her excitement, she forgot her original purpose and left the tea set behind. Instead of heading for the main gate, she sprinted towards the wall and swiftly climbed over it.

After Gu Fuyou left, Zhong Michu stared in the direction of her departure for a long time. With a wave of her sleeve, a gust of fresh wind cleared the lingering scent from the room, causing the bamboo curtains to rustle.

After returning, Gu Fuyou hugged the book stained with tea and rolled on the bed, “Ah ah ah ah ah!”

“Si Miao, Si Miao, Zhong Michu was actually reading the book with my annotations!”

Si Miao asked the heavens in exasperation. Earlier, when Gu Fuyou suddenly returned, making a fuss, she had almost caused a furnace of medicinal pills to explode, “You’ve said that countless times already! My ears are going to develop calluses!”

Gu Fuyou continued to shriek with joy, clutching the book, rolling from side to side. Only when Si Miao threw a medicine bottle at her, hitting her, did she finally calm down.

Si Miao remarked with disdain, “It’s just a book with your notes. Is there really a need to be this ecstatic?”

Sitting upright, Gu Fuyou smiled gently, “You wouldn’t understand.”

Zhong Michu was born with a water spiritual root, cultivating both internal and external techniques. Not even a hundred years old, she was already at the Golden Core stage. Her talent and comprehension were both top-notch.

In the Five Continents and Four Seas, such people could be counted on one hand. Even Gu Fuyou’s brother paled in comparison to her.

Such a person was the one Gu Fuyou admired the most, the one she thought was the most amazing. Aside from envying the blessing bestowed upon her by the heavens, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Gu Fuyou admired Zhong Michu.

And now, this person, who was worlds apart from her, was reading a book annotated by her. From the tone of Zhong Michu’s voice, it seemed that she highly appreciated and cherished it.

The regretful expression Zhong Michu had shown for a moment because of this book made Gu Fuyou’s heart tremble with joy.

The joy brought about by this contrast was something that Si Miao couldn’t empathize with.

Gu Fuyou jumped out of her bed and picked up a new book titled “New Interpretations of Formations” from her bedside. Walking over to her desk, she said, “I won’t talk to you anymore. I’m going to transcribe a book for my Senior Sister Zhong.”

Si Miao shook her head, not bothering to engage with her.

The original book had been doused with hot tea, causing its pages to wrinkle and the ink to smear. Most of the text had become illegible, with only a few sections remaining clear.

When Gu Fuyou used to read this book, she would write down her thoughts as they came. The annotations were all over the place, and her handwriting was extremely scribbled. Sometimes, when there wasn’t enough space, she would even cover the original text, so it looked very messy.

Gu Fuyou touched a line of text at the bottom corner of the book, which read, “Observations of the world evoke profound feelings.” Her erratic handwriting had squished these characters into the corner.

The calligraphy was upright and graceful. It was said that one’s handwriting reflected their character, and it was indeed true. Gu Fuyou could tell from the handwriting that it was Zhong Michu’s.

Holding her cheek and gazing at those eight characters, Gu Fuyou smiled silently. She was so engrossed that she didn’t even notice the red ink from the brush she held staining her face.

It took Gu Fuyou three days to transcribe her notes onto the new book from memory. This time, it was much neater than the original.

She took the new book to find Elder Liuhe, planning to have him review it first to see if there were any additions or changes needed, and also to ask how the original book had ended up in his hands.

The Xuan Miao Sect consisted of nine peaks, with each peak having its own hall overseen by an elder. Each elder was responsible for specific tasks like guarding books, refining pills, beast taming, mastering formations, etc.

Elder Liuhe resided at the Xiyi Peak and was in charge of the Xuan Miao Sect’s formations techniques and artifact refining. He had expertise in these areas and had personally designed the defense formations outside the sect’s entrance.

Gu Fuyou didn’t know how Elder Liu He had come to know her. Suddenly one day, he sent a plum blossom messenger to deliver a document to Xiaoyao City, saying that she was proficient in formation techniques and had remarkable talent, specially recruiting her into Xuan Miao Sect to stay by his side as a student.

Xuan Miao Sect was divided into inner and outer disciples. Inner disciples were taken in by the various great elders and experts of the sect and personally taught by them, while outer disciples only had their names listed in Xuan Miao Sect and received unified lessons from the sect members.

Although Gu Fuyou was personally invited by Elder Liuhe to join the Xuan Miao Sect, she wasn’t formally accepted as his direct disciple, placing her in an awkward position between inner and outer disciples.

Every day, she had to report to Xiyi Peak. Otherwise, she practiced and attended lectures with the outer disciples.

Sometimes, when Gu Fuyou didn’t want to listen to the lectures of other elders, she would secretly slip away and hide on Xiyi Peak.

When Gu Fuyou arrived at Xiyi Peak, she saw disciples sweeping outside the hall.

As she walked, she inquired, “Senior Brother, is the elder here?”

The disciple replied, “The elder is in his study.”

Looking inside through the flower tassel curtain, Elder Liuhe was wearing a black Daoist robe with a scattered floral pattern. From spending years by the forging furnace, his face was tanned red, and his white beard on his chin was as dry as weeds, trembling as he laughed with his head raised.

Elder Liuhe was holding a book and reading it, talking to the person beside him. That person was wearing a smoky green robe, listening attentively with lowered eyes. It was Zhong Michu.

“The annotations in the book are indeed made by that little girl,” Elder Liu He sighed lightly and said, “That little girl has put in a lot of hard work in formation techniques. Nowadays, few are willing to put their heart into this obscure field of formation techniques. Although she has some insights, her cultivation talent is lacking. I’m afraid her cultivation will hardly reach the Golden Core stage, and her lifespan will only be a little over two hundred years. Time flies. Over two hundred years is just a flash of time. No matter how much effort she puts into formation techniques, limited by her lifespan, it will be difficult for her to achieve great success. What a pity.”

After expressing his sentiments, Elder Liuhe then asked, “I find it strange how she managed to form a contract with you. Do you know the reason?”

Zhong Michu paused for a moment before shaking her head.

“Has she ever taken advantage of the contract to mistreat you?”

Zhong Michu shook her head again.

Elder Liuhe continued, “That girl is cunning and restless. I’m afraid she has troubled you a lot. You have also met her a few times. What do you think of her?”

Zhong Michu paused for a moment, then whispered, “Eloquence masks sincerity, rarely genuine.”

Standing outside, Gu Fuyou heard these words. She crossed her arms, reflecting on the deeper meaning of Nanzhu Jun’s statement.

However, even if she did have a way with words, she didn’t believe she was as manipulative as Zhong Michu made her sound.

At most, she was only a little bit.

Elder Liuhe closed the book with a loud laugh, “And you said she hasn’t bullied you.”

“That girl has been spoiled by her father and brothers, and sometimes she can only see herself. It’s just a child’s mischievous heart, but her nature is not bad. You are her senior sister after all. If there are things you can let go, then let them go. When it’s time to guide her, you should also guide her.”

Zhong Michu responded softly, “This disciple understands.”

As Gu Fuyou pondered, she realized from Elder Liuhe’s tone that he seemed to be familiar with her father. She approached him and greeted, “Master Liuhe.”

Seeing her, Liuhe chuckled, “Speaking of you, and here you are, silently appearing.”

On the other side, when Zhong Michu saw her coming, she bade farewell to Elder Liuhe and left.

Once she passed the draped door, she left without even glancing at Gu Fuyou.

Gu Fuyou said a word to Elder Liuhe and chased after her, stopping Zhong Michu at the steps.

She approached and handed over the newly transcribed book, “Senior Sister Zhong, I’ve transcribed the annotations from this book for you. Here it is.”

There was just the distance of a book between them. A familiar, subtle sweetness lingered around Zhong Michu’s nose. She took a step back, “Since this book is yours, there’s no need to return it to me.”

Zhong Michu refused to take it, so Gu Fuyou took another step forward, handing the book directly to her, smiling, “Then consider it a gift to you.”

Gu Fuyou genuinely wanted to give this book to Zhong Michu. Not to appease her, but because it was the first time someone had so treasured and praised her annotations. She was genuinely happy.

Hoping her writings would find an appreciative audience.

Zhong Michu had only read the first few chapters and found them intriguing. After a moment’s hesitation, she finally accepted the book.

“Then… thank you,” As she said this, Zhong Michu took a slight step to the side and secretly held her breath.

Gu Fuyou noticed Zhong Michu’s strange expression and thought about how she had just taken a step closer, and Zhong Michu had stepped back

At first, she thought Zhong Michu was annoyed by her and didn’t want to be near her. Then, recalling Zhong Michu’s action of raising her sleeve yesterday, she suddenly realized that this person was holding her breath.

Upon this realization, Gu Fuyou was shocked. She instinctively sniffed herself but couldn’t detect any unusual scent. Just as she was about to inquire further, Zhong Michu had already hurriedly left.

Leaving Gu Fuyou standing alone, feeling somewhat disoriented in the wind.

Table of Contents
Previous: Chapter 4
Next: Chapter 6

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Otaku
Otaku
9 months ago

I’m also curious about her scent🤔

dadin
dadin
8 months ago

a rare scent from a master to her tamed beast?

Doom
Doom
5 months ago
Reply to  dadin

Ohh I never thought that! What if she smells bc beasts smell their master you know. Even if blinded, their scent is there and they can remain to be loyal.

Hatimo
Hatimo
29 days ago
Reply to  dadin

Oh that make sense

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Sus smells owO very sus! Let’s find out about GFY’s bkg maybe?