They saw what looked to be a young man of about twenty-three years old. World-weariness written in his face, he slowly padded out of the darkness dressed in a clean but worn-out robe and holding an azure bamboo stick. Judging from his empty gaze and unfocused eyes, he seemed to be blind.
“Who are you?” Lu Yun demanded, having concluded with his Spectral Eye that the abruptly-appearing young man was alive.
Qin Xianhuo didn’t say anything when he saw the newcomer, but the excitement flashing through his face spoke volumes; he knew the stranger.
The young man didn’t respond. Instead, he took out a palm-sized gourd and opened its lid, tapping it thrice to swallow the divine obsession before it had time to react.
“I’ve finally caught you,” muttered the blind young man. “Now I can figure out what you are.”
“Who are you?!” Lu Yun demanded again.
“It seems that someone alive has entered.” The blind man paused and sighed. “I don’t know who I am...”
“Wayfarer!” Qing Han shouted in shock. “The masterful Art Saint! I’ve seen your portrait in history books!”
“What?!” Lu Yun’s eyes widened with shock and he quickly rummaged through the portion of his mind reserved for Yuying’s memories. Hidden deep in her recollections was the faint figure of a man. It overlapped with the blind young fellow before him.
Twelve hundred years ago, Yuying and Wayfarer had walked the world of immortals hand in hand. They were the perfect match, in many people’s eyes. Sadly, they’d eventually parted ways in the end.
When Yuying had died in her heavenly tribulations, thanks to the Exalted Immortal Sect’s scheming, Wayfarer collected her body and buried her and the Panorama of Clarity in the tomb outside Dusk City.
He’d become the governor of Dusk Governor a thousand years ago and altered the tributes used in the ritual that Xuanxi had left behind, almost turning the dragon princess in the burial mound into a vicious killing machine.
Now here he was, in the abyss that was the burial grounds of the divine race.
“He’s Wayfarer?” Mo Yi frowned and looked at Wayfarer in disbelief. “The masterful Art Saint is blind?” An artist without his vision was as good as dead.
“Wayfarer?” The young man paused. “Maybe. Is that really my name?”
“Yip yip yip!” Miao popped out of Mo Yi’s arms and waved her little paws at Wayfarer in complaint.
“What’s she saying?” Lu Yun looked at Mo Yi.
“She said that in her dreams, she saw this man kick her away and place the bronze outer-coffin in her place instead.” Mo Yi paused, bemused pause. “In her dreams?”
Given her lack of knowledge of what had happened in the burial mound, she couldn’t quite comprehend what she’d heard.
Lu Yun and Qing Han exchanged a glance. The fox’s dreams were all real! Five thousand years ago, the burial mound had fallen from the sky and destroyed Truewater City, burying Feinie with it. Was Wayfarer responsible for all of that?
“What’s going on?” Mo Yi grew further confused.
Meanwhile, Situ Yun and Qin Xianhuo remained timidly silent, holding their breath. The two august immortals had lived more than a couple thousand years, so they’d naturally seen Wayfarer before.
A thousand years ago, he’d been the most handsome gentleman in the world of immortals. Countless fairies had thrown themselves at his feet. However, he rejected everyone. His eyes harbored a profound sadness that never dissipated.
Because of Yuying.
Wayfarer’s appearance hadn’t changed, but he was blind and worn down by the world, a far cry from the genteel and urbane man he had once been.
“Yip yip yip!” The fox had a lot of things to say, but she could only loudly mewl at the moment.
Previously, she’d been able to imitate human language through illusion. After Mo Yi broke her illusions, though, she was neither able to project human form nor speak the human language. Nevertheless, Mo Yi had done that to protect her. Creating illusions would greatly hurt the little fox in her current state.
“Now I understand.” After listening with a cocked ear, Mo Yi could deduce a few things about recent history.
“I have seen you before,” Diexi suddenly said, scanning Wayfarer closely. “You have been here for a very long time.”
She might not have had a soul when she was a zombie, but her body passively remembered everything. During her years in the tomb for the living, she’d seen Wayfarer more than once.
“I don’t know that, either,” Wayfarer murmured.
Diexi declared with great certainty, “You were here a thousand years ago. You were also here five thousand years ago.”
“What?” This took everyone aback, Situ Yun and Qin Xianhuo in particular. They were certain the man in front of them was Wayfarer. They’d both met the Art Saint in person before, and would never mistake his presence for someone else.
“You were here before my tomb appeared,” Diexi said without any trace of doubt. “You have been here for tens of thousands of years!”
“Maybe… I’ve been here so long that I don’t even remember who I am.” Wayfarer intended to quirk his lips into a rueful smile, but his face was so stiff from disuse that he only managed to slightly lift the corners of his lips.
“That doesn’t make any sense! If you’ve been here forever, who is the Wayfarer we knew? He gave me the same feeling as you.” Qin Xianhuo approached Wayfarer. “I once sought your guidance, and you gifted me with a painting that helped me become a formation master...”
“I don’t know how to draw.” Wayfarer shook his head. “I can’t see.”
With a twist of his wrist, Qin Xianhuo manifested a scroll that was a traditional ink splash painting of natural landscapes. The signature at the bottom read “From Wayfarer to Junior Brother Xianhuo.”
“What an exquisitely crafted painting. It embodies the principles of formations and the heavenly dao.” Mo Yi’s eyes lit up when they settled on the painting. “It is indeed the work of Wayfarer, the man before us.”
The presence lingering about the painting matched that of the young man. Now everyone fell silent. Nothing made a lick of sense, and there was no fathomable explanation for the situation.
“To be honest, there’s no use dwelling on the matter.” Wayfarer shook his head, disrupting their discussion. “You’ll forget everything if you stay here. Who I am doesn’t matter at all.”
“Do you want to get out of here?” Lu Yun suddenly asked.
“Get out of here?” Wayfarer shook his head after a pause. “There’s no way out. I’ve tried many different ways, but to no avail....”
Lu Yun shook his head slightly. “Just because you can’t doesn’t mean we can’t.”
“I know you want to leave through the river above us, but there’s something keeping the abyss sealed. As soon as you attempt to leave, it will drain your life essence and turn you into shriveled corpses, just like those things on the cliff. There’s no escape,” he muttered. “No escape....”