Martial Arts Master - LightNovelsOnl.com
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Translator: Larbre Studio Editor: Larbre Studio
It was somewhere in the middle of March. They were at the state furthest to the North in America. The ground was still matted by thick, white layers of snow, and the forest had a coat of silver on.
Sitting in the snow sled, the wind roared beside Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke's ears. Clean snow unfurled around them as they dashed through the vast land without a single worry or doubt.
Before them, a group of professionally-trained dogs galloped. An idyllic scene.
When they had stopped, the beautiful Yan Zheke, with her lovely fur hat and all-white outfit, spoke. Her eyes were twinkling and her voice contained amus.e.m.e.nt.
“They are so adorable! But I prefer Huskies!”
“Huskies?” Lou Cheng could hardly agree to that, muttering, “But they are silly and goofy and dumb…”
Hearing his diatribe on huskies, Yan Zheke could not hold it in any longer. She covered a glove over her mouth and let out a laugh.
“What is it?” Lou Cheng asked blankly.
Her brilliant eyes regarded him with a semi-smiling expression. With pauses in between each word, she repeated his words.
“Silly, goofy, and dumb! Sounds about right!”
With that, she gave a silvery laugh once more. Lou Cheng, rather stunned, asked, “Care to explain the joke to me?”
“It's nothing! You are looking too much into it~” Yan Zheke replied with feigned seriousness. She then moved on to something else. “It's been a few days since we came here, so why haven't we seeing the Northern Lights? Hasn't it be said that trying it three nights in a row has a 90% chance of yielding results?”
She pursed her lips, and said in a pitiable tone, “Are we, perhaps, a part of the unfortunate 10%?”
“Of course not, it has only been two nights for us,” consoled Lou Cheng, looping an arm around his little fairy as they headed back.
They had been here for nearly five days and rented a small wooden cabin by the observatory point. However, due to bad weather at the start, they didn't attempt going out at all. It was not until the weather began looking up that they began to try again.
“Mhm-mhm. Say, do you think we'll see it tonight?” asked Yan Zheke, as if seeking affirmation.
Lou Cheng smiled.
“I signed us up for a package tour. A driver will drive us to where it's the most likely to see the Northern Lights. He's a local with rich experience as a tour guide, so I'm sure it's gonna work out. Plus, the weather forecast didn't predict up any bad news either.”
“When did you sign up?” asked Yan Zheke, her dark and beautiful eyes filled with dorky cuteness.
“Don't forget I'm someone who has written guides in the past. After our first two attempts at seeing the Northern Lights failed, I immediately began to consider other solutions. Wait, didn't I mention it earlier? Why are you looking so surprised?” asked Lou Cheng in amus.e.m.e.nt.
“It slipped my mind because I was having so much fun… Mhm, that must have been what happened!” Yan Zheke broke into a smile—the most picturesque scene in the vast snow land.
When Lou Cheng turned to gaze forward, the smile on her face stiffened, as though something on her mind forbade her the luxury of unrestrained enjoyment.
At night, on a bus.
Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke found and sat down in adjoining seats. They chatted in a whisper while waiting for the other tour members to a.s.semble.
Where they were was still a part of the city, so signal was available. Holding their 'cozily-dressed' phones, they occasionally scrolled for interesting content. Yan Zheke, out of habit, clicked into Lou Cheng's Fanclub forum. It made her a little sad and melancholic to see the deserted state it was in.
After Lou Cheng sent that post in January, the forum, as though gaining a second wind, was filled with activity for the next ten or so days. There were people praying for him, people cheering him on, people taunting him, and people defending him. Such posts were innumerable. However, when it got to the New Year season, everyone became busy and no longer had the motivation to keep them going. The forum, lacking new content and things for people to look forward to, gradually slipped into inactivity. The number of posters and commenters decreased by the day.
Some lasted a week, and some a month. Most people didn't only have one interest, and eventually turned their attention to something else.
“Other than signing in and praying, I don't even know what to post anymore…[dips head and exhales]” wrote 'Eternal Nightfall', Yan Xiaoling.
Brahman replied with an energetic fist wave emoji. “What's there to worry about, Little Nightfall? Wasn't life fulfilling back when there were only the two of us too?”
“But… But we were full of hopes at that time. Now…now…I feel so sad…[wails]” wrote 'Yan Xiaoling'.
'Brahman' replied with a hugging emoji. “Me too… I have lost track of the number of times I wept…”
“Sigh. Keep doing your silly antics, Lord d.a.m.n. Things will look more hopeful if you keep everyone entertained! [emoji with Nike lips]” replied 'Unparalleled Dragon King'.
Scrolling down and comparing it with the day before, Yan Zheke realized that the number of new posts didn't even take up two-thirds of the front page. She pursed her lips and silently exited the forum, keeping it to herself.
The last members arrived as she toyed with the heavily insulated digital camera in her hands. After a short briefing from the driver and accompanying photographer, they set off.
The first place they went to didn't offer a view of the Northern Lights. Neither did the second. After pa.s.sing by a number of observing spots, the driver paused, then announced apologetically, “Ladies and gentleman, I apologize for the disappointment. The clouds were thicker than expected tonight. Tomorrow, we will set off again at the same time and the same place, so see you there! There won't be any additional charges. I offer it as compensation for tonight.”
“Not everyone is fated to see the Northern Lights after all…” muttered a tourist. Some sighed audibly, but no one blamed the driver. Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke exchanged a glance, smiling helplessly.
When they were back in the city and off the bus, a cold gale bit at their bones.
“Turns out we really are a part of the 10%…” pouted Yan Zheke.
She had a m.u.f.fler around her neck and a mask sheathing her face and was looking very much like a cute teddy-bear.
“Relax, we have got two more days here,” comforted Lou Cheng.
That was when he recalled the weather forecast he checked earlier. An idea struck him.
“The weather might get better during midnight. How about we drive to the small wood cabin and wait there?”
Yan Zheke looked up with clear eyes. She hesitated, then said, “Sure!”
Even if they didn't manage to see it, she would still share a beautiful memory with Cheng.
It was late into the night and the road was slippery with frigid winds soughing around them. Yan Zheke drove very carefully on the straight road, and finally, they arrived safely at the observation camp and settled themselves in the small wooden cabin.
Warmth permeated through the air. Leaning against each other, they sat on the chair and gazed at the scenery through the window, nonchalantly chatting while they waited.
As it got later into the night, it got darker and darker outside. Yan Zheke stretched lazily, and said to Lou Cheng, “That's enough for today! We'll try again tomorrow! Don't forget that you have to wake up in the morning for training!”
“Okay.” Lou Cheng exhaled and stood up.
But just as they were about to turn around, they saw a magical shade of green in the corner of their eyes at the same time. It started from the edge of the sky, s.h.i.+fting and wavering and vaguely visible.
“The Northern Lights!” Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke exchanged a glance, their eyes suffused with delight. Without a second thought, they linked hands, pushed the door open, and rushed out, sprinting towards where it was more s.p.a.cious and offered a better view.
They ran and stopped, and after a long time, the only thing that remained in their eyes was the vast, boundless winter sky, and the brilliant Northern Lights that seemed unreal.
It was dreamy, majestic, mystical, beautiful, and enchanting. It burned wildly. It was endless. It filled their eyes!
Before the vast, majestic, and magical sight offered by Mother Nature, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke felt so tiny, and so were their daily troubles. They both felt at ease and purified, as though under the effects of the Confrontation Formula.
“It's pretty…” she praised in a murmur.
Coming back to his senses, Lou Cheng took out his digital camera and captured the view of nature's wonderland.
After a few consecutive snaps, he then took pictures of his little fairy with the heavenly view in the background. When that was done, he stretched his arms out to capture their adjoining faces in the dazzle of the Northern Lights.
When they were about to leave, the contented Yan Zheke said with a touch of sentiment, “Seems like we are pretty lucky after all!”
As she spoke, she gazed at where their camp was.
“We ran this far?” she exclaimed in disbelief.
Lou Cheng followed her gaze.
“Indeed. I never realized,” he a.s.sented with a chuckle.
His eyes twinkled. Turning and squatting down, he said smilingly, “Come, Ke Ke! I'll give you a piggyback!”
“You don't have to! I'm not tired!” Yan Zheke shook her head in surprise. Seeing that Lou Cheng remained in his posture, she gave in and climbed onto him.
Holding her legs in place, Lou Cheng stood up and marched on. In the pitch-black night, cold wind bl.u.s.tered against their faces. His boots made a squeaking noise in the snow.
After ten or so steps, Yan Zheke felt his body stiffening and pauses in his movements. Initially, she wanted to hop off to reduce her husband's load, but she decided against it after sensing Lou Cheng's determination, her eyes roaming thoughtfully. She then leaned closer against him and plunged her face into his shoulder, giving him full reign. She never said a word or mentioned anything. The future, whatever it held, didn't matter to her as long as she was with him.
The journey wasn't long, but Lou Cheng took quite a long time due to his constant pauses. After a time, they returned to the small wooden cabin. His back was drenched with cold sweat from a number of factors.
Shutting the door and glancing outside, Yan Zheke said gaily, “And that perfectly concludes our trip!”
“Yeah,” said Lou Cheng, equally sentimental.
At that moment, she turned and stared melancholically at him with her beautiful eyes. Gently, she bit down on her lips.
“Cheng, is there something you want to tell me?”
“Huh?” Lou Cheng didn't know what face to make on the fly.
“From the end of January to these days on the trip, there were many instances where you were like that emoji pack! Swallowing the words you want to say, then again, and again!” she said light-heartedly. She then pursed her lips. “Go ahead and say it, I'm prepared!”
Before Lou Cheng could reply, she added viciously. “But if you are gonna tell me you are no longer good enough for me, save it!”
Half-sighing and half-chuckling, Lou Cheng said, “Of course it's not that…”
Yan Zheke paused and blurted,”So you do have something to tell me…”
Lou Cheng took another look at the darkness outside. Turning his head and looking at his little fairy straight in the eyes, he nodded ever so slightly.