“A bit more interested in Green Luan Academy? … Don’t tell me that before, you actually weren’t all that interested in this place regarded by the entire empire as a holy land?”
The elder stared blankly at this young man for quite some time. When he thought about the difference in age between this seventeen or eighteen year old and himself, how there was no way he could understand this kid’s way of thinking, he decided not to say any more, instead just closing his eyes for some rest.
This spring rain lingered for quite some time. The carriage moved another ten li north through the mud when Lin Xi lifted the curtains and saw continuous tall mountains suddenly appear in the distance, the spring rain still pattering down.
However, the mountain range was extremely tall, pure white snow accumulating at the mountaintops. Sunlight reflected off the cliffs reaching beyond the rainclouds, making the mountain summits appear clear and bright.
“So that is the main vein of the Sea of Mountains.”
When he heard the disturbance in the carriage, the elder dressed in a woven lush raincoat didn’t turn around, saying, “if you start from the far eastern sea, follow along the winding coast, you’ll eventually reach the northern frozen sea area, one of our Yunqin Empire’s two greatest mountain ranges. After we pass through this mountain range, we won’t be that far from Green Luan Academy.”
“Green Luan Academy is right behind these mountains?”
Lin Xi looked into the distant mountain range. Regardless of whether it was the rain, snow, the plants on the mountains, or the sunlight reflecting off the cliffs, everything seemed extremely pure and clean. At the muddy carriage’s sides, the grassland that had all types of small flowers extended up to the base of that mountain range. This clean and peaceful feeling was something he was extremely fond of.
At the foot of the mountain was a village, wooden houses scattered about on level areas. In the surrounding valley and on the hills were all types of apricot flowers, currently blooming beautifully, splendid like clouds.
“Uncle Liu, are we going to pass through there?” Lin Xi’s eyes were completely drawn by this peaceful and pure beautiful village, he couldn’t help but ask the elder sitting upright at the front of the carriage.
The elder was momentarily distracted. He nodded and said, “That is Apricot Blossom Village. After we pass through the village, the valley we are going to pass through is right behind it.”
“Apricot Blossom Village?” The corners of Lin Xi’s lips couldn’t help but reveal a smile. “Does Apricot Blossom Village have wine?”
The elder turned around, somewhat astounded as he looked at Lin Xi. With a frown, he said, “If that small shop at the head of the village is still there, then they should have some wine, but that wine isn’t really all that special, and if we make a stop here, then we’ll be delayed for another day…”
“Don’t worry about it, I just suddenly recalled a poem, so I figured I might as well just ask.” Lin Xi was smiling until the corners of his eyes were even-curved. He knew that this elder definitely wouldn’t understand the meaning of what he just said.
The elder nodded, clearly not that interested in that poem, thus didn’t say anything else.
The village hidden behind apricot flowers drew closer and closer. Lin Xi was stunned.
On the distant hillside were some cows. On the back of one of them was a young shepherd boy in a raincoat.
When asked where the wine shop was, the shepherd boy pointed towards Apricot Blossom Village. Even though there was no wine in Apricot Blossom Village, this scene before his eyes really was extremely similar.
“Uncle Liu, can we stop for a bit?” Suddenly, Lin Xi asked the carriage driving elder.
After a slight pause, the elder stopped the carriage.
Lin Xi opened a bamboo oil-paper umbrella, walking out of the carriage under the elder’s shocked gaze.
To the carriage’s left was a meadow that was full of small purple flowers, the petals of an apricot flower tree scattering down. Lin Xi walked into this meadow, looking at a wooden house not too far from the edge of the village.
There was a small stream that flowed past the front of that wooden house, above it a wooden bridge.
A woman carrying a basket was currently walking on the bridge under a similar oil-paper umbrella. The woman’s appearance and clothes were ordinary, but in reality, her pureness and neatness were something even the girls of his past world definitely didn’t have, and couldn’t feign. Just this bit alone made the distant shepherd boy, this woman on the wooden bridge, and this Apricot Blossom Village seem like the most beautiful scenery before his eyes.
“An ordinary countryside girl, what is there to even look at?” When Lin Xi who returned only after staring at that woman for a long time finally returned to the carriage, the elder said with a frown.
After Lin Xi removed his shoes that were a bit wet, and then entered the most comfortable half-sitting half-lying posture, only then did he say in what he felt like was an extremely profound and deep manner, “Uncle Liu, what I was looking at wasn’t that woman, but rather tranquility.”
Cough… cough… The elder seemed like he was choking on his saliva, bursting into coughs.
“We are about to reach Green Luan Academy. Uncle Liu, according to what you said, there are many who gather from all different parts of Yunqin Empire, and most of them are people with status. A loose tongue may cause many troubles, so after we pass through this mountain, I won’t say any more of that nonsense.” Lin Xi gave the elder’s slightly shaking rear figure a look, and then after a chuckle, he became serious. “However, before passing through this mountain, I have to speak a good amount of nonsense, or else I might not be able to hold it all in… right now, I have the world’s best father, mother, and little sister, but sometimes, I still can’t help but feel a bit lonesome.”
“It is because no one else understands.” Lin Xi lifted open the carriage curtains, looking into the outside world, and then saying, “Actually, I came from a different world. That world of ours had high-rise buildings everywhere, with airplanes and trains. In that world, I was only an ordinary university student, already about to complete my fourth-year, but I got into a car accident. When I woke up, I ended up in this world, becoming Lin Xi. Speaking honestly, I really like this world, it is extremely pure, especially when my parents of that world didn’t even care about me, perhaps they even have no idea that I got into a car accident. I read many books of this world, originally believing that Yunqin Empire is probably about the same as our world history’s Qin, a dynasty of cold weapons, but I never expected a girl who asked so many questions to suddenly appear, for this Green Luan Academy to appear. Originally, I didn’t have that much interest towards Green Luan Academy either, after all, the life of a wealthy merchant in Deerwood Town isn’t so bad. However, that day, that great one who came with you ordered under the authority of a city supervisor, this city supervisor rank basically equivalent to my previous world’s mayor, and thus I had no choice but to come. However, I also never expected Green Luan Academy to actually be that kind of place, is that a daoism cultivation sect or a magic academy? Wouldn’t I be a bit like Harry Potter…”
“You asked me along the way why I looked at some things with such interest, so carefully, including the woman from just now.” After pausing for a moment, Lin Xi then added, “It is because in this world, I am actually a tourist.”
“This story of yours truly is just some nonsense.” The elder’s brows were furrowed more tightly than ever before as he listened to Lin Xi speak of his past. “This kind of absolute nonsense, when you go inside, you definitely cannot speak it anymore.”
Lin Xi nodded. He looked at the serious elder, and then with a laugh, said, “My story is finished. Uncle Liu, what about your story? I haven’t heard you speak about your past yet.”
The elder’s body went slightly rigid. He turned around, took a deep breath, and then slowly exhaled. “I don’t have much of a story, just remained in the border army for a few years.”
The carriage passed through a serene and long valley, going through Apricot Blossom Village. When it entered this wide valley that gave Lin Xi a great fantasy-like feeling, it was still early morning, but when they left it, it was already dusk.
At the other end of the valley the spring rain stopped. At first, the scenery wasn’t much different from the outside world, still high mountain fields, apricot flowers and various other wild flowers blooming beautifully.
There were no other towns in their line of sight, but the elder didn’t stop to set up camp like usual, instead urging the carriage north.
Lin Xi discovered with shock that the air became hotter and hotter, as if they were heading directly from spring into summer, the scenery along the way becoming more and more different as well.
“This is the Four Seasons Plains, a low-lying land that rests between the Sea of Mountains’ main vein we passed through and Heaven Ascension Mountain Range. When passing through it, one will experience all four seasons. You can take off some clothes, it will get hotter and hotter. However, there is no need to worry, the academy’s people will come to receive us soon.” Night gradually descended. A mist rose from the mountains, making everything hazy, yet the elder still drove the carriage, telling Lin Xi this.
“Are we going to meet Green Luan Academy’s people today?” Lin Xi had just rolled up all of the curtains in the carriage when he heard the elder’s words, immediately leaving him shocked.
“Tomorrow is Green Luan Academy’s entrance examination. I originally wanted to arrive two days early, at least let you understand a bit more about Green Luan Academy, but the rain is a bit heavy today, the path not easy to cross. If we forcefully hasten our journey, these two horses might not be able to take it, instead become even slower.” The elder turned around, looking at Lin Xi and saying, “You can only use tonight to ask around and learn a bit more about tomorrow’s entrance examination.”
Lin Xi was stunned. He finally understood why the elder wanted to pass through the Sea of Mountains’ main vein today and hurry here.
Suddenly, the carriage came to an abrupt stop.
Lin Xi’s eyes passed through the elder’s rigid and upright rear figure, seeing a bit of light appear through the mist ahead without any previous signs.
A young person walked through the mist with a lantern in hand.
This young man was dressed entirely in black, the robes’ sleeves and hem borders gold. He looked like he was a few years older than Lin Xi, appearance handsome and lighthearted, eyebrows like swords. He had an amiable smile on his face, his forehead relaxed, his hair neatly bound behind him with a green cloth band.
“My name is Xia Yanbing, a member of the academy. Did you come to participate in the entrance examination? Recommendation token please.” This young man nodded towards the elder and Lin Xi in a manner that wasn’t servile or overbearing and spoke in a simple manner, yet it gave others a type of gentle and prideful feeling.
“Yes.” The elder nodded. He reached out his hand, producing an article from his sleeve and handing it over.
Lin Xi watched with curiosity. He didn’t know about any recommendation token either. What the young man accepted was a golden square token of authority, from the looks of it an extremely important article.
“Please follow me.”
After this young man looked at it carefully for a moment, he gave them a warm smile again, turning around to lead the way.
The mountains around them reached higher and higher, the two old horses becoming more and more weary as they advanced, even the elder and Lin Xi getting off. Meanwhile, the mist surrounding them instead gradually disappeared, the atmosphere and scenery already like that of the middle of summer.
After climbing to the top of a hillside, Lin Xi looked into the distance, immediately becoming speechless.
Below the hill was an expanse of plains, inside of this region an azure mountain lake. A giant green weeping willow grew by the lakeside.
Countless fireflies danced about above the plains. Meanwhile, on the fields near the lakeside were countless tents, bonfires burning one after another. This was basically the same as the Harry Potter movie he saw in his ‘past life’, the scene of watching the Quidditch World Cup.
1. There is a famous poem associated with this, referring to a village of blossoming apricot trees where a wineshop can be found