Lin Mu immediately turned around after hearing the voice and recognized it.
“Duan Ke…” Lin Mu muttered to himself.
The person who had called him was none other than Duan Ke. She was standing there a short distance away from him and had a sword floating above her. The sword’s tip was pointed towards Lin Mu and Duan Ke herself seemed to be standing in an offensive stance.
The day had been normal for Duan Ke and she had spent it the same as she had spent these past two months. Especially after getting injured, most of her time was spent in rest and recovery. The rest of it was spent in either cultivating or staying in the library.
She and her grandfather had been trying to find the clues to all the incidents that had been happening until now, and were also looking into the identity of the hidden expert that had ascended along with the sword intent of the other.
While they were secretive, Duan Ke’s grandfather was sure that the experts must have left some traces somewhere. Thus they were checking their records, which were perhaps the most extensive in the entirety of the empire.
Still, even after spending weeks on it, they had little progress. Today was a similar day, and Duan Ke had just finished reading another record. She was feeling spent after the repeated failures and felt like taking a walk.
In the past, she would secretly go out to fly around the county. But ever since the incident with Lin Mu, they had sealed the courtyard completely. Now all she could do was take a walk around the courtyard itself. Although she had become used to the courtyard over the years, it still felt refreshing to her.
But she had never expected that she would end up finding someone here that was not her grandfather. Duan Ke was a hundred percent sure that the formation arrays were still intact and had not been tamped with. Her mind quickly started to think of all the possibilities.
She wondered who could be able to enter a place as secure as this without them ever noticing or with the formation array breaking. With every possibility that came to her mind, her face only fell more, for each of those possibilities were bad.
There were far too few people who could enter this courtyard and she could count them on one hand, with two of them being her and her grandfather. The other three she did not think would ever enter here as they had long been dead.
The only other way she could think of was if there was a formation master who could enter through a flaw in the formation array and the other being even more dangerous. A cultivator that was in the immortal Ascension realm.
She could not think of anything else than those two possibilities. After a little thinking, she discarded the possibility of it being a formation master, as according to her knowledge there was no one that would match the age of the person in front of her.
Although she did not see the face of the person, she could still guess it from his back. The person in front of her was about 170 centimeters tall and had a slim frame with hair that was about three inches long and free flowing.
All the signs only pointed to her that the person in front of her was young and she knew that there were no formation masters of a grade that high in the empire. Her mind then went towards the second possibility. At first, she doubted it because of the same reason as the first. The person was way too young.
But then a story that she had heard from her grandfather came to her mind. There were certain exceptions where a cultivator would return to a youthful appearance. This combined with the existences of the hidden expert with the sword intent, Duan Ke only became more fearful.
Still, she did not back down and cower, instead she stood her place and decided to face it.
‘If it really is an expert that strong, they were are doomed either way.’ She thought to herself.
Taking a deep breath, she finally called out. But as soon as she saw the face of the person in front of her, she was shocked even more. For this was a possibility she had never expected.
“What!?…” Was all she could mutter before she saw him move.
Lin Mu walked forward casually with a calm demeanor and came to stand in front of her. A gentle smile appeared on his lips as he spoke.
“It’s been a while, Duan Ke.” Lin Mu spoke in a genial tone.
Duan Ke’s brain almost shut down after hearing him speak, and for a moment she felt like she was about to faint. The memories of that day came rushing back, the ‘being’ that she had witnessed. She clearly remembered it, for it was etched into her heart.
That day she had known what true terror felt like. She realized the reality of her existence and how minute she or her grandfather were compared to that being. And behind that encounter was none other than Lin Mu. While she had suppressed this deep in her mind, it all broke free upon seeing him.
“What… what are you doing here?…” Duan Ke let out, struggling to speak still.
Unknown to Duan Ke, her hands were trembling as she stood there staring at Lin Mu with a pale face. Lin Mu noticed all this and could sense a storage feeling coming from Duan Ke.
‘What happened to her?’ Lin Mu thought to himself.
“Umm… it seems like this may be my fault,” Xukong replied in an unnerved tone.
“Why?…” Lin Mu questioned and then remembered what had previously happened.
“You mean to say she’s still affected because of it?” Lin Mu questioned.
“It does seem like it. But I didn’t expect this either.” Xukong replied.
Lin Mu let out a breath and looked at the still trembling Duan Ke, before an idea popped into his mind and he opened his lips.