Pulling aside the verdant branches, a young man steadily glanced at the pure stream of water under his feet, and a slender figure was vaguely reflected on it.
“Where am I?”
The young man bent his body, fetched up a handful of water in both hands and splashed it on his face.
The bone-chilling sensation pierced his cheeks, making him much more clear-headed than before.
The mountain stream was located under a blind spot of the sun and didn't encounter sunlight all year round.
That was also the reason why the water in this stream was so cold.
Suddenly, a long and majestic chiming of a bell rang across the mountains.
[E/N: 'Bong' is a resonant sound made by a large bell.
It is similar to the sound made by the Big Ben clock.]
The young man barely got up when a feeling of powerlessness invaded him, almost compelling him to kneel into the narrow stream.
He lowered his head and looked at himself carefully.
The black brocade robe, that he was wearing, made of silk and satin, was tattered due to the sharp edges of branches.
His long black hair had no hairpin, and they trailed chaotically over his stunning snow-white face.
The shoes made of gold silk embroidery thread were also tattered from the bottom.
While the white jade pendant hanging by the ribbon on his neck had long disappeared.
In its place, only a beautiful red string hung from the ribbon, which could also fall at any moment.
“My name is Ji …”
The young man frowned.
He barely remembered his surname, but a sharp pain came from his glabella, causing those fuzzy memories to once again plunge into darkness, and his mind entered into the state of former confusion.
The second bell rang again, but it was much sharper than the previous one and was accompanied by a strange and eerie feeling, which could make people shudder.
The young man grasped his head in pain, and squatted down, directly burying his head into the cold and transparent stream.
After a few breaths, he raised his head from the cold water, and felt that the sharp pain at his glabella was relieved by a huge margin.
[E/N: The 'breaths' here doesn't mean he was breathing in the water.
In ancient chinese measurements of time, they also use breaths to describe how many breaths it will take to measure time.]
He stretched out his sleeves and casually wiped the drops of water on his face.
Looking around, he found himself a seat around the edge of the mountain, and let out a sigh of relief.
The third bell rang across the mountains.
The sharp and vicious chime directly invaded the deepest part of his mind through his ears, causing the young man to shiver subconsciously.
“What the hell are these sounds? The bells of ordinary mountain temples are not this strange,”
Before his aggrieved mutterings fell, a powerful undetectable soundwave came from far away, throwing the young man several meters away, and slammed his body against a towering rock.
Blood spattered due to the impact.
After a while, the young man sat up with effort and tremblingly stretched out his hand to touch the left side of his forehead, which was radiating with immense pain.
Blood slid down his cheeks, and throbbing pain ran through him from the wound, almost making him faint.
However, when he raised his head and saw the invisible ripples spreading out from the high mountains again, he had no time to hesitate.
He rolled over with all his strength, moving straight towards the narrow and deep mountain stream beside him.
In the next moment, a more intense sonic ripple swept across the vicinity, and huge chunks of debris fell and splashed into the water, hindering the flow of the stream.
“My name is…
The young man looked up at the dripping water droplets between the rock crevices, and barely formed a smile on his bloodied face.
He finally remembered his name among the few remaining discernable memories.
Ji Yuenian leaned on the wet rock at the bottom of the stream, and slowly relaxed his tense nerves.
The wound on his forehead was so shocking that even the skull beneath could be seen.
After scanning the whole place up and down for a week, Ji Yuenian realized that this place was basically a dead end, and the opening from which he had rolled down was already tightly blocked by a dense mass of rocks.
He shook his head slightly, bowed, and wiped his face with a handful of cold stream-water, stored in the grooves.
After cleaning up the bloodstains on his face a little bit, he ignored the cold and directly sat down on the ground, alone in the dark and narrow mountain stream.
At this moment, his physical strength was too weak, and he could only try to push through these tightly blocked rocks by forcing himself to recover by taking rest in intervals.
He did not know how long it took before the light flickering through the cracks of the rock had completely disappeared without a trace; it was nighttime.
Ji Yuenian opened his eyes with all the strength left in him and woke up from his deep sleep, and what greeted him was again a desperate silence and darkness.
“My sleep should've lasted eight or nine hours long.
If so, it should be the early hours of midnight?”
Ji Yuenian's mouth was as dry as burnt sand, and he couldn't help but stretch out his hands to explore the rock in front of him.
It was only after a few breaths that he found the stone groove with a little bit of stream water.
He took a handful of cold water, and brought it up to his mouth, gradually moistening his lips and tongue.
“This place is so humid and dark.
If I can't escape here in a short time, I'm afraid I will die in this mountain stream.”
Ji Yuenian's thoughts ran as he tried hard to recall the forgotten memories, but in response, he still felt the piercing pain at the glabella.
Suddenly, a breeze of cold wind kissed his cheeks.
Ji Yuenian who was groaning in pain and was forcibly enduring it,shuddered uncontrollably at that moment, he was suddenly taken aback by the cold.
This place had been blocked by rocks, so there were only a few small gaps.
How could there be such a bone-chilling cold wind!?
A pale white halo encompassed the mountain stream, dispelling all the darkness of the abyss.
When Ji Yuenian could already detect very clearly, an incomparably cool aura appeared behind him at some point.
“Who is it!?”
Ji Yuenian silently calmed down his somewhat flustered mind and turned his head abruptly.
What caught his eye was a beautiful girl in a snow-white dress.
The girl stood with her slender and white feet hovering in the mid-air.
Her magnificent long dark hair fell to her waist, and a shallow moon-white halo covered her snow-white dress.
The delicate face was picturesque; she was extremely gorgeous.
She lowered her cold eyes enveloped in a thick layer of frost and looked at Ji Yuenian carefully, and chuckled lightly.
It was as if the snow and ice melted with her blooming smile, and even the dark and cold mountain stream seemed to harbor a trace of warmth that didn't exist before.
But the next moment, Ji Yuenian's pupils shrank violently.
The corners of the white-dressed girl's lips widened to the limits, yet they continued to split towards the ears.
After a few breaths, her beautiful face had completely transformed into a hideous mouth, with only the presence of a ferocious mouthpiece.
“What a fresh trespasser.”
A hoarse and unpleasant voice came from the squirming mouth on the girl's face, and a burst of cold air spread in the vicinity, washing Ji Yuenian from head to toe; it was thousands of times colder than the stream below his feet.
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