Chapter 3-About Memories
Ding Hao clenched his fists and felt emotional.
He swore to himself that one day he would obtain unprecedented magic skills and peerless kung fu; he would beat other swordsmen with his own sword and top them all.
Of course, he was just a humble sweeping boy servant for now.
No one noticed him.
Leaving the announcement area, Ding Hao soon reached the hill behind the sect via a meandering trail.
Compared to the magnificent front hill like a fairyland, the hill behind the sect was a dirty and disordered slum.
Rough trails were lined with thorny underbrush and covered in jagged rocks like those of places where monsters lived.
Masses of household waste from Swordsmanship-seeking Sect were dumped daily to the land covered in rocks on the other side or off the cliff. Waste accumulated over numerous years rotted and fermented in sunshine and rain, breeding bugs, flies, and foul air.
The air stank of dead fish. It was like walking in hell.
However, among the abominable rugged land behind the sect, stood rows of wooden huts in various sizes like those he had seen in his previous life; 2,000 to 3,000 people lived here.
The former owner of his body, Ding Hao, lived here in this cramped condition.
“It looks like this is the slum of Swordsmanship-seeking Sect. Hell, I just can’t run away from being a loser; I can only slowly climb to power!”
From memories Ding Hao retrieved, he knew that most residents of the garbage-packed were the underclass working in Swordsmanship-seeking Sect’s supporting department.
These people did not practice kung fu or possess combat skills; they could not live in the monster-packed wilderness. Instead, they offered physical labor to Swordsmanship-seeking Sect in exchange for protection and lived on the hill behind the sect. They were nobodies that struggled in this world full of monsters.
The meandering trails were lined with thatch huts built upon stone walls.
The thatch on the rooftop had turned black in sunshine and rain, implying the long years it had gone through.
Carefree children horsed around in their birthday suits. Passing by some huts, he could smell pleasant odors and saw swirling smoke. Those were the precious signs of vivid lives in this cramped community.
On his way home, many people greeted him warmly.
There were friends that the former owner of this body had made.
He smiled and greeted everyone back enthusiastically.
Soon, taking the narrow trails, he arrived at a garbage field in the back of the slum. About 3,000 to 4,000 meters further from the field was a bottomless abyss.
However, at the rim of the garbage field, to his surprise, there lay a refreshing shade of green.
Dozens of green seedlings rustled in the wind against the setting sun like a group of dancing fairies; two well-built thatch huts were laid out carefully and encircled by a green fence.
Although the small yard was the closest place to the garbage field in the entire slum, Ding Hao found it an oasis; he was slightly surprised and even felt cheerful.
This was Ding Hao’s home.
He pushed the door open and entered the yard.
More than 20 pots of flowers were carefully placed in the yard. Those were the most common wildflowers on the roads of the ritual square in the front of the sect. Normally, they were not eye-catching and would even be uprooted as weeds, while here, they looked quite stunning.
Ding Hao played with the plants in the yard for a while and pushed the door open into one of the huts.
The setting sun cast its hues through the windows, leaving the room kind of dim.
A few pieces of furniture were found in the house.
There were an old wooden bed covered in a thin quilt, a three-legged square table, a clay stove made out of rocks, a black pan, a few simple cookers, and several chipped jars with pickled vegetables and meat in them. Additionally, some shabby staples were hung on the wall.
The only different item was a girl’s cotton-padded jacket hung on the wall beside the door.
The jacked looked that of a girl of 5 or 6 years old. The cloth was homespun and the needlework was average. However, it was kept clean, dirtless. The hue of bright red livened up the shabby hut.
When Ding Hao first opened the door, he saw the cotton-padded jacket.
It was his younger sister, Ding Ke’er, used to wear before she was taken away.
He recalled that in that snowy afternoon three years ago, he finished his duty and returned to his sister who awaited him home. However, his younger sister was nowhere to be seen.
He searched through the entire slum frantically.
Later, he heard from many witnesses that a mysterious and ethereal person in white took her away. The person appeared out of nowhere and took the crying girl, Ding Ke’er, when passing by the thatch huts.
Then, the previous Ding Hao found a note he had ignored engraved on the hut’s wooden column.
“The girl is destinated to tread my path and learn my way. Muhuang Tianji of Southern Land.”
The handwriting was neat and implied the writer’s extraordinary force because normal people usually felt dazed after looking at it for a while. Therefore, many of the people in the slum contended that the words were left by a peerless expert.
However, who was Muhuang Tianji?
No one knew that.
The only thing they knew was that Southern Land was far, far away. It was so far away that even a normal guy spent all his life riding on the horse on the way, he could not reach there.
After Ding Ke’er went missing, the previous Ding Hao had kept the red cotton-padded jacket and been missing his sister for three years.
At that moment, in the sight of the red jacket, memories came flooding into his mind like waves of the sea. Montages of their lives together played in his head like clips of a movie. A deep-rooted yearning spread in his bone like an infectious disease.
“Brother, why did mom and dad no longer want us? Where did they go?”
“Brother, I’m hungry, can you make me a bowl of porridge?”
“Wow, a jacket! Pretty! Brother, is this for me? Thank you!”
“Brother, when I grow up, I’ll make good meals for you every day…”
Ding Hao could almost hear her familiar and melodious voice in his head. He stood by the door and let his tears streaming down his face. At that moment, he almost wanted to run away to find his sister immediately.
He did not intend to cry.
He just could not control his emotions.
His entire soul was filled with uncontrollable sadness and urges.
Ding Hao knew that due to the shared memories, he was under the influence of the previous owner’s longing for his missing sister.