Chapter 7: Encounter
The Su Clan’s main courtyard was located at the base of a mountain at the city’s western outskirts. There were large plots fertile land on either side of the mountain and winding rivers around its base. The center of the mountain was covered with dense forestry, making it an impressive scene.
Su Chen’s Dustsift Courtyard was located at the rear of the Su Residence. After walking out of the courtyard, a wall with a small door could be seen. Behind it, there was a bamboo forest. Continuing forwards through the bamboo forest, one would arrive at the mountain center.
During times of leisure, Su Chen would often come to the rear mountain and idly sit.
Tonight was the same. Su Chen sat down on a large rock at the rear mountain.
That night, the mountain forest was completely silent. Even the birds weren’t singing. Only the whistling of the wind could be heard in the forest.
However, Su Chen knew that the woods were never truly asleep.
Without the clamor of day, he was able to hear those few minute sounds even more clearly and train his sense of hearing.
It was quite difficult to come by a place without the noise of man. Accordingly, his heart grew serene.
This allowed him to hear even farther and distinguish different sounds even more distinctly.
The nearby sound of flowing water was from the flowing trickles of the mountain stream.
Although he couldn’t see, an image appeared in Su Chen’s mind: The splashes of spring water was flowing down the mountain. It arrived at a steep cliff and fell, creating a small waterfall. A pool had formed beneath the cliff after countless years of being battered by water. As the spring water continued to flow, the pool began to take form as a small stream and snaked through the thicket to a far away place.
Sitting to the side of a small creek, he attentively listened.
He suddenly extended his hand into the river, and picked up a small flower that was flowing downstream.
Su Chen slowly brought the flower to his nose and smelled its faint fragrance. His mouth formed a satisfied smile.
Not only was sense of hearing strengthened but his sense of smell has as well.
From that refreshing fragrance, Su Chen knew it was a Weeping Red Flower, a red mountain flower that carried a heavy aroma.
A trace fragrance of Weeping Red Flowers floated down from upstream of the brook.
Su Chen was somewhat curious. This was the season when the mountain flowers were flourishing. How could there be so many Weeping Red Flowers withering?
He followed the creek upstream.
He walked up along the stream until he reached the base of a cliff. Among the sounds of the falling waterfall, he could faintly hear something irregular stirring inside the river.
Someone playing in the water?
Su Chen suddenly reacted.
“Who’s there?” A lovely voice shouted.
Without thinking time to think, Su Chen acted on instinct. He turned around and threw himself to the floor.
A strong wind blew past his face.
Su Chen fell to the floor and rolled. As he heard several hard objects continuously burying into the earth, he also heard the sound of storming waves from the pool. That person was using their hand to disturb the water and interfere with vision of their body. Naturally, this was of no significance to Su Chen.
As he rapidly rolled on the ground, he loudly shouted, “I’m blind!”
No other words could have the same effect as these.
The sound of the splashing water and the great clamor immediately stopped as silence returned to the forest.
Su Chen stopped his rolls and slowly sat up, feeling out the ground with his hands.
After a moment, he said, “Since you’ve already finished putting on your clothes, why don’t you come out?”
It was the sound a sword leaving its scabbard.
The tip of Su Chen’s nose felt cold.
Despite not being able to see, Su Chen clearly knew that a woman was pointing a sword at him.
“Are you truly blind?” He heard the sharp, clear voice of a woman.
If there were birds chirping throughout this empty valley, it was unknown whether they would sound more pleasant than her voice.
Su Chen nodded his head, “I am called Su Chen. If you don’t trust me, you can ask around. You’ll find out that I really am blind.”
Hearing this, the other party clearly let out a breath and the cold sword retracted slightly from his face.
That pleasant voice spoke once more, “Since you can’t see, then why have you come walking here alone?”
Su Chen smiled and said, “Who said blind people can’t walk by themselves? There is wind in this forest. It pushes through the gaps in the trees and produces an echo. Every echo is distinct. So long as you attentively differentiate between them, you will know where there are obstacles and where there are none.”
“Is that so?” It was obvious the other party didn’t completely believe him, “Then why did you come here?”
Su Chen bitterly smiled, “This place is the mountain behind my clan. Is there anything strange in me coming here? Rather, isn’t your appearance here strange?”
“Ah!” The other party then realized that she had intruded on the territory of another clan. The arrogance in her tone was greatly reduced, , “So it turned out you were someone of the Su Clan.”
Su Chen helplessly said, “I did say my name was Su Chen.”
The young woman’s face became slightly red. Indignant, she said, “Su Clan member, what are you doing in the back of a mountain at night?”
“To a blind person, there isn’t much difference between night or day.”
That young woman clearly didn’t expect that answer and was astonished for a moment.
She looked at Su Chen. Su Chen was appeared calm and wasn’t the slightest bit fearful toward her sword point. Gradually, the young woman became convinced in the truth of Su Chen’s words.
Putting away her sword, she said, “I apologize. I was only passing through this place and saw there was clean spring water here. Thus, I thought to take a bath at the time and hadn’t thought it was your clan’s forests.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Su Chen answered with a laugh. “Those who come far are guests and the Su Clan is willing to act as a host. So long as Young Lady Gu is willing, we will receive you at any time.”
The woman was startled, “How did you know my surname was Gu?”
Su Chen answered, “It was naturally a guess. If I am not mistaken, this young lady should by the Young Miss of the Gu Clan, Gu Qingluo?”
“Ah!” That young woman displayed shock. If Su Chen could see, then he would see the girl covering her mouth and looking at Su Chen in complete disbelief. “How is this possible? Even if you could see, you wouldn’t know who I am. How did you know? In the end, are you really blind?”
When she said those last words, her tone had become swift and fierce once more.
Su Chen replied with a smile, “Actually, with regards to having not yet seen the young person and whether or not I can see, those are not important. As I can’t recognize left from right, appearance also loses meaning. Contrary to expectation, a blind person is able to sense a few things that a person with sight can’t.”
Gu Qingluo’s eyes were brimming with curiosity.
She looked at Su Chen and said in a relaxed tone, “Could you tell me how you were able to guess?”
Su Chen hesitated for a moment.
In his previously bitter encounter, he realized what it meant that the tallest tree in a forest is certain to be pushed down by the wind. Also, he had come to understand what it means to keep one’s weakness hidden. He wouldn’t easily flaunt his methods and leave clues that would allow others to see through him.
However, talking to Gu Qingluo, couldn’t help but feel an urge to tell her.
That intangible and heavenly voice enchanted Su Chen, causing a yearning in his heart.
Despite not being able to see Gu Qingluo, on the basis of her heavenly voice, Su Chen was willing to take the risk.
He said, “Previously, didn’t I tell you my name? If you were a native, you should have known I was blind from the moment your heard the name Su Chen and I simply wouldn’t have had to use so many words a moment ago.”
Su Chen’s blindness was the hottest topic circulating Northface City at the time. It could be said there was nobody in Northface City that didn’t know of this. Also, they were in the rear mountain of the Su Clan. Were it a native that was bathing here, they absolutely wouldn’t have repeatedly questioned the truth of his blindness. Thus, Su Chen recognized that this person came from another place.
When Gu Qingluo heard this, she became a bit more convinced that he was blind. She then asked, “Then how did you know I was Gu Qingluo?”
“That can only be be blamed on how greatly the Lin Clan had publicized it. If it weren’t for their unbridled announcements, how could I have known that the Longxi’s Gu Clan’s Second Young Miss, Gu Qingluo, had come to visit Northface City?”
There were some tiny tree leaves that were embedded in the soil. Su Chen took some out and scattered the pieces.
Su Chen took a light whiff and said, “What you had just used were tree leaves absent of Origin Qi, thus the tree leaves were broken. This signifies you have yet to enter Qi Guiding stage. By purely relying on your strength of Body Tempering, you were able to use the tree leaves as darts; you had to be a young woman not from here. During this time, apart from the Gu Clan’s Gu Qingluo, I couldn’t think of anyone else. It was a brazen guess that was luckily correct.”