vol. 1: chapter twenty-four – Lan Yu?

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After the call with Li Jinghua, Li Xinwen found himself walking without any destination in mind. Though he did ask about buying underwear earlier, he felt that it would be better if he were to go with Sun Xiao. ‘Ah’Xiao’s school ends at 2:00pm… and now it’s only 10:48am,’ Li Xinwen sighed as he thought about how to kill time. ‘I’d cultivate but I’d need to consolidate my cultivation since I advanced too quickly.’

As Li Xinwen pondered on how to spend his time, he suddenly remembered that the original owned a residence nearby. Li Xinwen decided to simply go there for a visit.

By the time he arrived at the high-rise building, it was not even 11:00am yet. He entered the building and the security in charge of the entrance bowed to him. “Mr. Li! Welcome back! I heard you had an accident a few months ago. Are you alright, now?” the guard asked. This guard’s job was simple, and that was to make sure no one suspicious enters the building. Most of the residents were artists from the same company as Li Xinwen and so he would benefit from this fact from time to time. Especially during Valentines Day when there would be an influx of gifts in the form of chocolates. Some artists couldn’t eat a lot and they would give him some.

“Mr. Yun! Good to see you. Thank you for your hard work!” Li Xinwen replied with a smile as he stared at the guard’s name tag, which read ‘Yun Bolin’. “And yes, I am alright now. You don’t have to worry.”

“I see. That is great to hear! While you were hospitalized, your sister came to feed your cats. Now that you’re here, I’m sure they’ll be happy!” Mr. Yun said, and Li Xinwen nodded as he went to the elevator. Once the elevator door closed and the guard saw the lights going up, a frown formed on his face. He took out his phone and sent a message to one of his contacts. The name displayed for this contact was ‘client’ and the message he sent was quite suspicious.

[Yun Bolin: Li Xinwen is here. From what I see, he made a full recovery.] [Client: Understood. Keep an eye on him. When he comes out later, try to inquire if he’s going anywhere and then inform me.] [Yun Bolin: Yes, sir.]

After the short exchange, Yun Bolin placed his phone back into his pocket and continued to play with his portable console once more.

Meanwhile, Li Xinwen arrived at his floor and when the elevator door opened, he was greeted with a hallway with several doors. He confidently walked through the hallway while humming a tune he liked back in Long Xing. Arriving in front of a certain door, Li Xinwen could hear rushing footsteps from behind. Beside the door was a nameplate that clearly spelled out his name.

“Here it is,” Li Xinwen said as he took out his wallet. The original always kept his key inside his wallet and Li Xinwen never once removed it. When he inserted the key into the keyhole, he heard a series of ‘meows’ and there was even a scratching sound as the cats pawed at the door. “Alright, alright. I’m here. I’m opening the door now so behave and move away from the door,” Li Xinwen said out loud as he unlocked the door.

Li Xinwen was greeted by cats of different breeds. He walked through the door and closed it behind him while he counted the number of cats. ‘…twelve and thirteen,’ he then nodded his head. “Alright, all of you are here. Go on inside, I’ll get your food,” he said as he walked deeper into the apartment. He went into the kitchen and opened one of the cupboards to take out a few cans of cat food. The original Li Xinwen had always spoiled his cats so they could only eat wet food. He poured the cat food into their bowls and watched as the cats ate quietly.

“I wonder… Hua-jie said that in the apocalypse, humans may change into ability users or zombies and if not, they remain normal. Then she said that animals and plants can also mutate, or animals can also turn into zombies…” Li Xinwen murmured softly as he stared at the cats on the floor. “Hua-jie never told me about you guys. Did you all die? Become zombies? Mutate?” he asked, and of course, he received no answer.

After a while of staring at the cats, he decided to sit on the sofa in the living room. He grabbed the remote for the TV from the coffee table and turned on the TV. But despite watching TV, he still couldn’t get the question out of his mind and he ended up staring at the cats again. By this time, some of the cats had already finished eating and were lazing around on the floor.

‘This is a long shot but let me just try,’ Li Xinwen thought as he spread out his spiritual energy. Then, he guided the energy into each cat, carefully inspecting them but he could only sigh at what he found. “Xinwen, ah! I don’t think any of your cats will survive the apocalypse…” Li Xinwen said out loud, as if trying to inform the original. All thirteen cats inside Li Xinwen’s apartment, were normal cats and they did not have the aptitude for cultivation. Even if Li Xinwen wanted to help, he doubted that they could survive through the process. Once he got his answer, Li Xinwen retracted his spiritual energy.

Just then, Lan Yu sent out streams of warmth towards Li Xinwen, gaining his attention. “What is it?” he asked and Lan Yu answered by creating a trail of spiritual energy leading to Li Xinwen’s pocket. It was the same pocket where Li Xinwen placed the pieces of jade he found from the trash bag earlier. Understanding what Lan Yu wanted, Li Xinwen took out the pieces and placed them on the palm where Lan Yu had disappeared into. Not long after, the pieces of jade disappeared into his palm.

Using his spiritual awareness, he noticed that Lan Yu was now almost fully repaired. But this only made him frown. ‘These were all the pieces that were in that trash bag, why are you still not fully repaired?’ He felt as if he had done something that would not benefit him at all. Just then, he felt the space around him shift suddenly. Then, the scenery around him changed and he fell to the ground. Glancing around, he found that he was suddenly in an open field.

The grass was lush green and when he turned to his left, he saw a cottage. The cottage was not as big as the Li family house, but it gave Li Xinwen a sense of familiarity because it was just like his own cottage in Long Xing. “This is… a pocket dimension?” Li Xinwen felt his heart race. “How big is this place?!” he wondered as he spread out his spiritual awareness to feel the size of the dimension.

Much to his astonishment, the space was huge. ‘The space is about 100 li big. Last night, Hua-jie mentioned her space is only 15,000 cubic meters… and that’s about 30 li?’ Li Xinwen began his calculation. ‘With this, I can help her store more items, right? The problem now is, how do I tell her? Should I fake it when the apocalypse happens?’ he started to wonder. After all, unlike martial arts, he couldn’t easily explain how he suddenly had a pocket dimension.

His eyes landed on the cottage and thought, ‘Well, I should put this aside for now. First, how should I deal with this creature inside here…’

He was just about to walk toward the cottage when a creature flew out of it. The creature was quite small, about the size of an adult male’s palm. On its back were two pairs of translucent wings that kept on flapping as the creature flew nearer. The creature did not exhibit any hostility as it continued to fly towards him so he allowed it come closer.

Upon closer inspection, Li Xinwen realized that the creature was a small fae spirit. The fae spirit had light green hair and pointy ears. Its eyes were also a shade of emerald and from its figure he concluded that this fae spirit was male. When the fae spirit was close enough, his eyes shone brightly and a big smile formed on his face. “Master~ We finally meet!”

***

Li Xinwen stared at the fae spirit who had just called him ‘master.’ “Lan Yu?” he asked.

“Well, if that is what master wants to call me, then I am Lan Yu!” the spirit replied. “I’m the fae spirit of the woods! Lan Yu thanks master for helping me gather pieces of myself! Unfortunately, there are still more to be collected but I couldn’t sense them at all.” At this, Lan Yu displayed a dejected expression on his face.

“Don’t worry, we’ll have more opportunities in the future,” Li Xinwen told Lan Yu and almost immediately, his face lit up.

“Right, right! Master has just arrived! Come, let me show you around!” Lan Yu said as he flew down and grabbed Li Xinwen’s finger. He started to pull Li Xinwen away but of course, with his strength and his size, he was doomed to fail.

Li Xinwen chuckled and followed Lan Yu, feeling as if he were back in Long Xing. Just as the thought crossed his mind, his eyes suddenly widened. He hadn’t realized it earlier, but now that he paid attention, he noticed the spiritual energy inside the dimension was pure. Not only that, it was even more pure than the energies in Long Xing. “Lan Yu, what is this place?” Li Xinwen couldn’t help but ask the spirit.

“This place? It’s just a small pocket dimension that mas- I mean, my previous master made. But because the medium is damaged, the space is much smaller at the moment. Luckily! The main area was left untouched!” Lan Yu replied happily. “Master is the first guest that Lan Yu has received after a long time, so let’s stop the questions for now and let me show you around ah! I promise, you will not regret it, master!”

Hearing the excitement from Lan Yu, Li Xinwen held off his questions for the moment. ‘Oh well, there is always later. I’ll just ask him once he’s finished showing me around,’ Li Xinwen said as he continued to follow Lan Yu. Much to his surprise, the first place that Lan Yu brought him to was not the cottage, instead, he was led around it. Behind the cottage, Li Xinwen saw a bamboo forest. ‘How did I not notice this before?!’ he turned to Lan Yu and he was just about to open his mouth when Lan Yu’s small hands smacked Li Xinwen on his lips.

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“Master, questions later, okay? Just follow me first!” he grinned and continued to lead Li Xinwen deeper into the bamboo forest. The bamboo forest was not as big as Li Xinwen initially thought and rather than calling it a forest, it would be more appropriate to call it a garden. That was how small it was, as if it was there merely for aesthetic purposes. When they exited what Li Xinwen referred to as the bamboo garden, they were greeted with a clearing and a lake. Lan Yu flew right over the edge of the lake and turned to Li Xinwen. “Master, quick! Come and have a drink! The lake is full of spiritual energy and it will be beneficial for you! The energy from the outside world is not as pure, so whenever I help you absorb energy from outside, I always have to put those energies through a ‘cleansing’ process!” Lan Yu said proudly. “That’s why your cultivation rank quickly accelerated that night!”

Li Xinwen was reminded of the time when he first received Lan Yu and cultivated through the night. He went from the early 3rd stage Houtian to the peak of 4th stage Houtian, almost breaking through to mid-stage Houtian. In fact, Li Xinwen only needed to push slightly to break through but because it was too fast, he had to stop. After all, if he did not consolidate his spiritual energy before breaking through, it would end up causing a problem in the future. ‘So, it wasn’t that I absorbed more spiritual energy because of Lan Yu but it’s because the energy that Lan Yu gave me was pure?’

“Master?” Lan Yu’s voice snapped Li Xinwen out of his thoughts and he remembered what Lan Yu had told him earlier.

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“Ah, I’m sorry. I was lost in thought. So, you want me to drink from this lake?” Li Xinwen asked as he walked closer to the lake.

“Yes… Oh! but before that, master should form a blood contract with the spirit of the lake! Well, the actual spirit is already gone but he left his consciousness within the lake so master should still be able to form a contract with it!” Lan Yu informed Li Xinwen.

Li Xinwen nodded his head and lifted his hand. He bit into his index finger and let it hover above the water. After several drops of blood dissolved into the lake water, Li Xinwen retracted his hand and started to manipulate his spiritual energy to his finger so that it would stop bleeding. He didn’t have to wait long before he felt that the contract was completed in his subconscious.

He was about to kneel when Lan Yu spoke again.

“Master, that… will you also make a contract with me?” he asked. “I mean, we are still not contracted and without a contract, it’s going to be really hard for me to communicate with you once you leave the dimension,” Lan Yu explained.

Thinking about it, Li Xinwen felt that it was better for them to make a contract, so he held out his hand towards Lan Yu. His finger still had a bit of blood on it and he simply gestured for Lan Yu to lick it. “And make sure you lick it clean while you’re at it,” Li Xinwen said with a smile and Lan Yu suddenly felt that he was being taken advantage of. Regardless, he still did as he was told and licked the finger clean. The contract was formed and Lan Yu seemed more excited.

“Hehe! Thank you, master!” he grinned happily. “Now, hurry and drink the water, ah!” Lan Yu continued to urge Li Xinwen.

If this was back in Long Xing and some stranger told him to quickly drink something, Li Xinwen would be suspicious but with Lan Yu, he was not suspicious at all. He trusted the spirit, especially now that they had a contract between them, and he would be able to read Lan Yu’s thoughts whenever he wanted. He knelt on the ground and scooped lake water into his hands.

The water was clear, and very clean but that was not all, Li Xinwen could clearly feel the spiritual energy contained within the water. Without any hesitation, he sipped the water and felt himself being rejuvenated. Even the small cut he made on his finger was completely healed. When he saw this, he suddenly panicked and quickly took off his shirt. When he removed his bandage, Li Xinwen had a complicated expression on his face upon seeing that the scars from his accident that were previously there had all disappeared.

“… I cannot let anyone know about this…” he murmured softly.

Lan Yu who was nearby, clearly heard what Li Xinwen had said so he asked, “Know about what?” When Li Xinwen explained his current situation, Lan Yu suddenly felt guilty. “Well…umm… master, I’m sorry. Lan Yu didn’t know about master’s situation and felt that it would be alright if master drinks from the lake.”

“It’s alright. At the very least, I just can’t take off my clothes randomly. Luckily, there is a private bathroom in the original’s room, and I’ll just have to make sure that I bring a set of clothes whenever I use any other bathroom,” Li Xinwen replied, while gently patting Lan Yu’s head.

“Oh, wait! I think there’s something that can help master! Let’s go back into the cottage first!” Lan Yu said suddenly. Li Xinwen looked at Lan Yu with a questioning look and thought, ‘What could he possibly have which could resolve this predicament?’

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