Chapter 178: Delving Into Ice Extermination Cavern (2)
After walking for around seven to eight minutes, their field of vision suddenly expanded. It turns out that they’d already reached the depths of the Ice Extermination Cavern. A tiny pond sat around ten steps from where they were. Not a single ripple could be seen on the deep green surface of the pond, making it look like a piece of fine jade. Sitting beside the pond there was a person with his back towards them; he wore a tattered straw raincoat and a conical bamboo hat, while the person himself was gaunt and had bowed shoulders.
“That’s him. He was the one I saw the last time I came,” Morning Glory Chime said as she pointed to the figure.
Pure Crane released her hand and walked over to the figure. After bending down, he was able to make out all of the person’s features.
It was an old man nearing his seventies. His weather-beaten face replete with lines that signified the passage of time and his eyebrows were completely white, while his mouth and chin were blanketed by an ashen beard. The man sat cross-legged on the bare ice, his hands tucked into his sleeves and pressed against his chest. His eyes were lowered, making it difficult for them to tell whether he was asleep or awake.
“Mister?” Pure Crane said as he gently patted the man’s shoulder.
Shen Jingbin and Quiet And Steadfast gathered around the man as well.
“Hmm?” Feeling someone touch his shoulder, the man slowly opened his eyes and looked up at the group. “Who calls upon this old man?”
“Mister, may I know the name of this small pond?”
“You’re referring to this?” The old man pointed at the tiny pond with his sleeved hand.
Pure Crane nodded.
“This here pond is known as the Shadow Snaring pond. No shadows are cast by the people who near it as they’ve all been stolen.”
“So the water in this pond is the Shadow Snaring Water?” Pure Crane asked once again.
The old man shook his head. “That’s not the case. The water within this pond is and isn’t Shadow Snaring Water. How curious.”
When she heard his vague reply, Morning Glory Chime cut in and said, “He said the same thing the last time I came. I couldn’t understand what he said, and I didn’t see what made this place so special, so I left afterwards.”
Pure Crane’s brows knitted. He asked, “Mister, what do you mean by that?”
The old man raised his head and slowly swept his gaze across them. “Why are you little ones so dim-witted despite being giants amongst men?”
Pure Crane choked a little when he heard that and silently rubbed his nose. Shen Jingbin, who’d been staring at the old man the whole time, suddenly realised there was something hidden within his sleeves.
“Mister, what’s inside your sleeves?”
The old man paused before he raised his gaze to look at her. “Lass, you have keen eyes.”
He then produced an item from within his sleeves.
It was a mustard coloured gourd.
The old man’s navy blue robes starkly contrasted against the gourd hidden amidst his loose sleeves. However, Pure Crane and company had failed to notice it.
“This is an Earth Warding Gourd. The Shadow Snaring Water causes all shadows to disappear without a trace. However, earth suppresses water, and this Earth Warding Gourd is the only thing that can contain it. How about this: I’ll let you have this Earth Warding Gourd if you help me with something. What do you guys think?” The old man said through half-lidded eyes as he swung the gourd about.
Pure Crane, Shen Jingbin, and Quiet And Steadfast looked at each other. As for Morning Glory Chime… Yup, she wasn’t important.
Unwilling to be ignored, Morning Glory Chime walked right up to the old and said, “Mister, why do you want us to help you?”
Unexpectedly, the old man’s gaze went past her, and he looked straight at Shen Jingbin, “I speak not to fools. You over there lass, come closer.”
At this point, Morning Glory Chime was fuming with rage. Meanwhile, Shen Jingbin shot her a look of innocence and walked over to the old man. “Mister, please speak.”
The old man spoke while stroking his beard, “Do you know the names of the two snow mountains that surround Ice Extermination Cavern?”
“Yes, they are Mochan Mountain and Liangcang Peak.”
“Good, I won’t bother hiding things anymore since you know their names. All of you should know that there’s a flower called Ice Crystal on Mochan Mountain; while Liancang Peak has a type of grass named Angelica Ginger. Combining the two of them calls forth a Dragon Mouth Catfish from within the Shadow Snaring pond. The Dragon Mouth Catfish is the embodiment of cleanliness and resides at the source of the Shadow Snaring pond. You’ll have to make your way towards the source of the pond if you want true Shadow Snaring Water. If you’re able to help me pick some Angelica Ginger and Ice Crystals, I’ll use the Earth Warding Gourd to help you collect some Shadow Snaring Water from the source of the pond. How does that sound?”
“Okay,” Shen Jingbin immediately replied and heard a “ding” right after.
“Quest: ‘Snaring Shadow, Temping Dragon’ —— Ice Crystal submitted (0/1) Angelica Ginger submitted (0/1). Will you accept this quest? Yes/No.”
After accepting the quest, the four of them prepared to make their way towards the two mountains in search of the Ice Crystal and Angelica Ginger the old man spoke of. However, they were met with a whole swarm of people when they turned around.
The person leading them turned out to be Crying Fish, whom they hadn’t seen in a long time.
Before they entered, Crying Fish had heard some faint noises from within. To protect themselves, she had ordered her people to draw their weapons. Upon seeing Quiet And Steadfast, her eyes lit up, and she immediately lowered her weapon and cried out to him in joy. “Ah Ning?”
Shen Jingbin shot a look at Quiet And Steadfast.
Following their previous arrangement, Quiet And Steadfast who was formerly in the rear guard would now take point on the way back. Due to this, he couldn’t avoid her even if he wanted to.
Quiet And Steadfast’s dashing eyebrows knitted together the moment he saw Crying Fish. He silently stared at her and refused to answer.
Crying Fish gestured for her people to lower their weapons before a smile bloomed like spring on her face. She neared him and said, “Ah Ning, why are you here? Are you guys doing a quest? Heh, I don’t see your wife… did you guys have a divorce? Didn’t I tell you not to marry someone just because you’re angry with me? Not only that, you even married someone so ugly. It looks like even you can’t stand her anymore huh?”
Crying Fish’s slightly shrill voice, coupled with the echo from them being in a sealed cavern, meant that everything she said pierced straight into Shen Jingbin’s ears, causing her temples to throb uncontrollably. Once they heard this, Morning Glory Chime and Pure Crane turned to look at her strangely.