“A freshly brewed wine is as deep green as its fragrance is heavy and the tiny clay oven burns a bright red. Day is fading and the snow falls, how about a drink?” A youth clad in black clothes had a cold expression on his face as he sat on a horse-drawn carriage. Raising a cup of wine, he laughed and called out to the people in front of him.
There were sixteen people in total, all of them held a blade in their hand. As the dim light fell upon their blades, the blades seemed like they were made of ice.
“This brother here sure has a sense of refinement.” The bladesman in the lead laughed, “We can drink your wine. But, everything in that carriage stays behind.”
“Oh?” The lips of the black clothed youth curled upwards, “It’s been hard on you guys… You actually followed me on such a snowy day and yet you will end up empty handed. I wanted to treat you to some wine before…”
“Before?” The leader’s eyebrows jumped. He tightened his grip on his blade.
“Before you go to hell!” the black clothed youth jumped and silvery light appeared in his hand.
The bladesmen raised their blades and howled, “Charge!”
A crisp ringing sound filled the air and the silvery light in the black clothed youth’s right hand collided with the sharp end of a blade.
“Throwing dagger!” The bladesman sucked in a cold breath. He heard something akin to a breaking sound so he quickly retreated. However, it was already too late. The shiny blade in his hand shattered in an instant.
The black clothed youth laughed and raised his hand. The bladesman saw the throwing dagger which was as thin as a cicada’s wing dance around in his hand in a stunning blade flourish reminiscent of a flower. In an instant, thousands of flowers bloomed. It was a magnificent display but that bladesman wasn’t able to catch it. A thin line appeared on his neck and in that instant, the black clothed youth quickly took three steps back. A second later, the head of the bladesman separated from his body and fell to the ground with a resounding thud. Fresh blood dyed the ground red.
“The person who sent you definitely didn’t tell you my identity, did they?” The black clothed youth returned to the carriage and he picked up his cup of wine once again. “Perhaps you are willing to drink this cup of wine now?”
“Throwing dagger… You are a disciple of Tangmen?” The bladesmen quickly retreated.
“Maybe.” The black clothed youth waved his sleeve and a dart embedded itself on the forehead of one of the bladesmen. “Since you say that I’m from Tangmen, here’s a Phoenix Tail Dart.”
The entire world fell silent and only the sound of snow falling could be heard. There were still thirteen bladesmen who were alive. However, none of them dared to utter a word. None of them knew when the next hidden weapon would come flying towards them. All of them held their breaths. They knew that they only had a single chance of survival when facing the hidden weapons of Tangmen.
The black clothed youth laughed and he lightly pulled on the reigns, “Onwards!”
The horse carriage slowly moved through the snow fields and left the thirteen bladesmen behind. None of them dared to stop him.
Only when the horse carriage finally left the three li radius from the bandits, did the black clothed youth finally lower his wine cup, along with it went that ever-present thin smile on his face. He started coughing heavily, stopping only to wipe the traces of blood off the side of his mouth. “What in the world did master ask me to transport this time? So many experts are attracted to it!” He grimaced.
When he finished his sentence, the black clothed youth snapped the reins and he jumped onto the roof of the carriage. Nobody knew when, but there was a man standing on the roof. The man was around thirty years old and a head full of white hair which fluttered in the wind. With jade sword in hand, he projected an otherworldly aura.
“Tang Lian?” The man turned around and laughed at the black clothed youth. Lightly tapping on the ground, the man leaped off the roof of the carriage. He softly landed on a leafless tree beside the carriage.
The light of a throwing dagger flashed in Tang Lian’s hand. However, it missed its mark.
“You know of my name?” Tang Lian’s pupils constricted.
“We will meet again.” The white haired man didn’t reply Tang Lian. He stowed his sword and laughed instead.
At this moment, the horse carriage sped up and left a trail of dust in its wake.
“White hair with a jade sword… and such outstanding movement skills. Why didn’t master mention such an expert to me?”
Night had fallen and the snowstorm outside was getting heavier. Tang Lian urged the horse carriage into a dilapidated temple and started a fire in preparation for a quick stopover. However, the white haired man still occupied his thoughts. When that man arrived on the roof of the carriage, his killing intent alone was enough to rebuff the snow. However, when Tang Lian faced the man, he realized that the man had no intention to fight him at all. With his profound movement skill and terrifying murderous aura, Tang Lian wasn’t even sure if he could triumph.
“What a freak…” Tang Lian threw the straw in his hand into the fire. It was at that moment that the neighs of horses came echoing from the entrance of the temple. Tang Lian instantly waved his hand to snuff out the fire. Leaping upwards, he sat on a beam below the ceiling.
“This snowstorm is too heavy… How long will it take for the snow to stop falling?” One person complained loudly as he charged into the temple before sitting down on the ground. The voice seemed to contain an inexperienced youthfulness.
“Humph, if not for my divine steed which can run a thousand li in a day, we’ll be sleeping in the snowstorm tonight!” The other person walked into the temple in a languid fashion. He spoke nonchalantly but he sounded much older than the first person who spoke.
“Hey hey hey, you’ve been talking about your horses since we departed. Are you a horse seller?” The youth was somewhat annoyed.
“How about we start a fire before doing anything else?” The other person completely ignored the youth’s question.
“This temple doesn’t feel cold at all…” There was a hint of confusion in the youth’s voice. “It’s as though…”
“As though there was someone who started to fire here just a moment ago?” The other person squatted down and used his hand to touch ashes on the ground. Turning his head, he looked at the youth, “It’s warm.”
Tang Lian who was lying in wait on the beam instantly opened his eyes. He gently flipped around and silently descended from the beam. A throwing dagger appeared in his hand as he stabbed forward. He aimed his dagger at the man who discovered the ashes.
“That’s great! It will be so much more convenient for us.” The youth’s face lit up with delight. “I was afraid that the straw would be wet. How will we ever start a fire with wet straw?”
Tang Lian was stunned. He thought to himself, could they really just be ordinary travelers? He quickly threw out a thin thread from his sleeves which attached itself to the ceiling and quickly pulled himself upwards.
The two people in the temple had already started the fire and they were warming their hands as they sat beside it. Tang Lian looked at the both of their faces illuminated by the warm glow of the fire. One of them was wearing a red shirt and had an elegant appearance. The other was curled up in his thick fur coat as he leaned against the pillar lazily.
“Lei Wujie, you said you would bring me to Snow Moon City. However, you got lost twice in the snowstorm already. Are you sure we are heading in the correct direction this time?” The two of them were actually from Lei Wujie and Xiao Se who came from the Fallen Snow Villa. In fact, the two of them had been traveling for more than ten days already. Due to the extremely heavy snowstorm, they didn’t manage to make much progress in their journey.
Lei Wujie laughed helplessly, “Actually, this is my first ever trip to Snow Moon City, but I’m very sure we are headed in the right direction this time.”
When he heard the three words, Snow Moon City, Tang Lian’s heart shook. His gaze landed on Lei Wujie.
His surname was Lei? Could he be someone from the Jiangnan Incendiary Hall’s Lei Clan? However, he never heard of someone called Lei Wujie.
Tang Lian looked at Lei Wujie and a cold laugh escaped his lips. He didn’t bother with Lei Wujie anymore, instead, he closed his eyes.
“Xiao Se…” Lei Wujie suddenly frowned He sniffed the air with all his might, “Do you smell something weird?”
“Smell?” Xiao Se’s eyes snapped opened and he sucked in a breath through his nose. “It smells like roses.”
Lei Wujie stood up and looked outside. “Can roses bloom in the winter?”
“Nope. it smells like roses but… that smell is made from the nectar of a rose flower that is produced by the Arabs, the Javanese, the Champa, and the Hui tribes. It cannot be obtained anywhere else other than the imperial capital…” Xiao Se didn’t stand up. Instead, he directed his gaze outside. No one knew when but a woman was standing at the entrance of the temple.
She was stunning as she stood there in a purple robe. As the wind lightly blew against her sleeves, the silvery light of the moon reflected off her skin. Her skin had the luster of jade as she smiled at Xiao Se and Lei Wujie. The rose fragrance in the air became stronger as she smiled.
Her voice was incomparably gentle, “I didn’t think that I would encounter a person of refinement in such a desolate land. That bottle was something I had to beg the Hundred Flower Pavilion Master a long time for before she finally agreed to sell me it. You actually managed to sniff it out so quickly!”
Xiao Se snickered and asked, “It’s cold and windy outside, how about coming in for a rest? We started a fire here and it’s really warm.”
“No thank you.” The woman had a warm expression on her face and she laughed. She raised her hand to smoothen out her hair.
“You’re really pretty. Exceptionally so when your hair flutter in the wind.” Xiao Se turned his head and looked at Lei Wujie. “However, this little brother of mine only cares about behind a hero. He probably doesn’t understand how to appreciate beautiful women.”
Lei Wujie was holding a golden invitation card in his hand. It was an invitation card which flew out of the woman’s hand just a moment ago. It was extremely quick and that shocked Lei Wujie. Looking at the golden invitation card, there was only a single word written on it…
Lei Wujie suddenly recalled a certain legend. Although it was the first time he stepped into the martial world, he loved listening to legends about it when he was younger. For example, there was a saying which went…
“The Lunar Maiden Bids With A Smile, The Nether Duke Kills In Fury.”