As he watched the unconscious Ovid, Cai Hua raised his eyebrows in contemplation. This was because of those final words Ovid had said, and also due to the many things Ovid had done and said over the past days.
He had reached immortality at the age of one hundred, since then, he had wandered the world for one hundred and fifty years, encountering many excellent youths. Among them, some had excellent willpower, while others were extremely talented. The youth he admired the most were those like himself - wandering cultivators.
However, he had never encountered a youth like Ovid.
He had always believed youths carried an aura unique to them, something comparable to the beginning of spring and the morning sun, an existence that was passionate and clear. Ovid… also had this sort of temperament, only it was much more tranquil and calm. He was like the gathering of dewdrops into a puddle, very clean and refreshing, causing others to feel carefree and relaxed.
However, it was not a sort of maturity that came with age and experience, and also not the feignings youths would make to present themselves as an adult by rolling up their skirts or lowering their voice. But rather, it was an absence of both, pure and young like a carefully nurtured garden, but also a dissociate with the world, it was even… somewhat sorrowful.
What led it to that, even in deep sleep, that this youth’s expression was reversed? Didn’t Ovid mention something about his mother? What was she teaching this youth? What kind of pressure has she applied on Ovid to cause him to be so calm and never reveal the slightest hint of his inner thoughts?
Cai Hua could tell there was clearly something wrong with Ovid’s heart, but did not want to ask about it, nor did he want to probe it out. It was not that he was not curious, but because he respected the boundaries between master and disciple, and more crucially, because there were more important things that must be done. He lifted his head toward the boundless plains and rivers, his face expressionless and his pupils like stars. The coldness around him gradually grew denser, while the hand gripping the handle of his sword seemed slightly more relaxed, it was actually changed to a form more suitable for pulling out the sword.
The saint Irene, at this moment, was hidden somewhere amidst the plain, probably keeping a close watch over this location.
To an ordinary person, a saint is an existence they dare not even breath before, something beyond the mortal coil. However, under normal circumstances, Cai Hua would not even bring out his proper sword. It was just that these were not ordinary circumstances, Ovid was unconscious, Anna was far away and he was heavily injured. No matter what perspective it is viewed from, this was Irene’s best opportunity to strike, unless Irene somehow valued the life of Anna beyond his.
Cai Hua suddenly felt nervous, causing the emotions on his face to grow increasing indifferent. It had been many years since he was this nervous, because it had been many years since anybody was able to threaten his life. He thought he had long gained an understanding of life and death, but after Myia appeared… and Ovid’s brazen use of mana, he finally understood that even if his soul was brightly lit, his mind could no longer keep it so in the face of death. Or perhaps it was because he had just grown old, and became like that emperor, or Julia.
Over his life, he had encountered many life and death situations and won countless battles against opponents he should not be able to surpass. Compared to those opponents, Myia did not even deserve to be mentioned. However, he clearly understood that over the course of his entire life, the moment in which he had been closest to death was not on that towering range that separated this continent, nor at the halls of the imperial palace in the northern continent, but a short time ago on that unremarkable plain.
The reason he was not close to his death was not that that Myia would have assuredly killed him, but because Irene was definitely concealed close by. The most important reason was that he had no means of taking his fate into his own hands.
Whether facing off against Julia and her subordinates or confronting the emperor of the northern continent that was unfathomably deep cultivation, he always had that sword in his hand that he could brandish.
Everything was a sword; as long as a sword was in his hand, the world was Cai Hua’s. Even if the natural world itself stood in front of him, he would not be afraid. But… in that previous moment, he could barely do anything. He could only place his fate in the hands of that youth called Ovid.
Fortunately, his disciple had proved himself very worthy of his trust.
“I really own you a life this time.”
As he gazed at the youth’s vacant expression, Cai Hua shook his head.
Irene continued to conceal herself in the wilderness. For some reason, she never chooses to strike. Perhaps it was as Cai Hua said, that her defeat at the Great Dividing Range had made her fearful, or perhaps it was because Anna had never fully left the proximity of Cai Hua and Ovid.
The arrival of twilight, Ovid finally woke up. His face was as pale as snow, his eyes were not as clear and bright as they usually were, like he just got off a ship. Thankfully, it seemed that his soul finally calmed down, so it seemed that he was out of danger.
Ovid looked at Cai Hua, but before he had the time to say anything, Cai Hua emotionlessly said, “Do you have anything you want to add?”
After a moment of silence, Ovid said, “Back in Phalaris, you had not forced me into cultivating a murderous spirit by slaughter. From this, it could be told that you understand killing people is nothing not prone to human nature. So why do you continue being a bad person and not change?”
Cai Hua creased his forehead, then gave a smile that was not a smile. “I have never said I wanted to be a good person. Since I don’t plan on being a good person, why do I need to change? Why should I kill fewer people?”
Ovid was struck speechless. Finally, he helplessly asked, “Sir, is there a need to compete over every matter, to dispute every little thing?”
“To possess many thoughts and ideas, but is incapable of putting any into action, not even lecturing others or able to express oneself. What sort of way to live life is that?”
Cai Hua said this very calmly and serenely, causing Ovid to fall into a long period of silence. From the moment he became self-aware, he had been learning. When he was on his death bed in his previous life, he had attempted to spend most of his time awake reading books. He felt the best thing about life is to learn, that accumulating knowledge was the most beautiful thing. But he had very rarely thought about how to express these thoughts that occupied his mind to the world.
He thought and thought, then decided to no longer think about this question.
He understood that in the aspect of life, he was not only a stranger to this world but also a stranger to his own world. But this does not mean he resent the people of either world or had some sort of conflict with them. On the contrary, he envied the people of both worlds. This was because the ordinary people of the world made of the majority of the world, while he had always been a minority. Living for him would always be different from living to other people. At the very least, he was satisfied with the current way of life he is living in, say for the lack of books.
In the end, Cai Hua looked at Ovid and changed the topic. “The wounds you suffered from channelling mana without perception has only subsided, not healed. It’s akin to treating a cut by burning. You being still alive is already proof that your luck is really good.”
“But not dead yet does not mean that you will not die.”
Ovid was shocked for a short moment, but his mood was not too disturbed, after all, he had experienced this once before. He said, “My life is in your hands.”
Cai Hua would naturally not allow Ovid to die, especially since he had saved his life in the earlier morning. “Since you had the luck to meet Anna, and then to become my disciple, your luck is so good that it exceeded luck.”
Cai Hua looked into Ovid’s eyes and said, “Your fate is very good. Just a few miles Northwest of here is the river left behind by Alexander after he ascended. While it cannot allow you ascension to godhood or sainthood, its properties can heal the soul to a degree, and enhance the state of your perception.”
When the sun had emerged in the infinite sky, the carriage pulled by the two horses begun to move, drawing closer to that river Cai Hua described. Before midday, Cai Hua was already standing by the stream.