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22 Blood or snow

    "My dear, what is your name?" The Taoist priest suddenly asked, his eyes were still closed.

    "Xue." The girl answered, her voice was low.

    Xue was the name that her grandfather called her whenever they would do their experiments together. He said that he had given that name to her, because of the feeling he had when he first found her. As of now, she had no surname, her grandfather never told her his, he had once said that it didn't matter.

    A family name would only bond one to their current family.

    "Xue, little Xue'er, what a nice name," he said as he inhaled a deep breath, "tell me its meaning, does it mean blood or snow?"

    [Xue'er sounds better.] The little girl pondered for a moment, deciding to change her name in that spur of a moment decision.

    "The name is spoken verbally, there is no written form, it can be interpreted anyway." She said.

    The name was always spoken verbally, it was not set in stone with writing, so up until now, she had never had to write down her name, nor tell another person her name.

    It was a strange question to ask a little girl, if it was anyone else, they would have most likely assumed that her name meant snow, who would think of the other meaning.

    "A beautiful name." He said with a strange smile on his face.

    "What is your name?" Xue'er asked him.

    "Gan Tian Chi." He answered, then he was deep in thought as if reminiscing over something.

    "What are you thinking about?"

    "The past. When I look at your fate, I seemed to have remembered something. It is a rare fate, I only know of one other person with that fate." He said with a gentle smile.

    That smile could seemingly scare a person to death, just looking at it.

    "..." Xue'er did not really know how to reply to that statement.

    "Follow me." Gan Tian Chi suddenly said.

    "What?" Xue'er was astonished by the sudden request.

    [Should I? What are the chances that he has other motives? Of course, as of now, I really have no plans and nowhere to go. Even if I go with him or not, it will still be the same.]

    [Follow him, or to not follow him?]

    "Why not?" She shrugged, it seemed that she had consented without a second thought.

    [Did she really agree? Does she really think that a stranger would be so giving?]

    [Have I misjudged her?]

    "Why did you agree so quickly? Aren't you afraid?" Gan Tian Chi asked.

    "Why does it matter? Whether I go or not I go, it is the same for me." She answered indifferently.

    As of now, Gan Tian Chi was beginning to doubt if this child was truly seven or eight years old. The way she spoke, the way she acted was mature, it could be compared to that of an adult who had experienced the vicissitudes life had to offer.

    They stayed in the abandoned temple that night. Xue'er was in a calm meditating state, while Gan Tian Chi was pondered through the night. He was unable to keep his mind in a peaceful state, he felt a million thoughts going through his brain at the same time.

    He thought of the boundless fate that she held.

    Of course, the only other person who he knew of who had the same fate, was himself.

    It was said that those who had it would be at the top of the world, a supreme existence, they would be a wanderer, traveling places, always to be overseen. Never to be put into the universe's calculation, even by the divine.

    They were essentially invisible ghosts that would be forgotten, never able to leave a mark, no matter how glorious of a life they would ever lead.

    Those who worked behind the scenes, of everything that happens, or will happen.

    Legend has it that those with such a fate had divine spiritual senses, perhaps even being able to foresee the future and walk aside the past.

    They were creators of chaos, the makers of history and the guide of the future.

    Some were even said to be undying.

    Gan Tian Chi gave a smile as he looked at the young child and those delicate features as she meditated.

    When they left the abandoned temple, Gan Tian Chi brought another person to travel with him, while Xue'er had a new guardian.

    Imperial city gates.

    The sun was rising, all of a sudden, the severed heads that were placed upon the city gates were slightly more visible to the eyes, as the people below tried their best to avert their gazes from the city wall.

    "The gates are opening!" A guard yelled as the soldiers pushed on the heavy gate.

    It was a wonder if the person yelling the opening and closing of the gates had done so for many decades, as some locals swore that the voice sounded the same all those years they lived within the imperial city.

    The people who were waiting to enter the city the night before were lined up in an orderly fashion, with their livestock and goods they were prepared to sell within the city. They all looked at the ground as they walked through the gates, as the guards kept a vigilant watch on those entering the gates, searching for any suspicious person.

    Above the city gates, there was a soldier who was standing as straight as a javelin, overlooking the people entering the city, but his face had on a strange expression, it seemed he was trying to force in something that wanted to come out.

    There were some soldiers who were just like him, with strange expressions, until one of them covered their mouths and ran to a wooden bucket to throw up.

    As the soldiers saw this scene, their eyes lit up, as they followed their comrade's actions of going to the buckets to empty the contents of their stomachs.

    [They can't punish us all, right?]

    After all, in the past few days since there was the addition of the rotten flesh put on the city wall, there had been a putrid smell lingering in the air, causing the soldiers to dread their guarding duty on the wall. The smell would make them feel an urge to retch.

    There was a particular soldier who left his spear on the edge of the city wall before going to a bucket. As another soldier ran, he was going at quickly speeds, he accidentally knocked down the finely sharpened spear, yet he did not notice, not that anyone notice the spear plummeting to the ground.

    It wasn't until someone below the city gates yelled: "Someone is dead!"

    That people began to notice and start to gather around the dead man.

    In a clearing on the ground, there was the farmer lying on the ground, with a finely sharpened spear sticking from his back. It seemed that he had bent down to pick up something, only to get pierced by the falling spear.

    Perhaps he should have listened to that Taoist priest.

    At another place.

    "I told you so." Gan Tian Chi silently muttered.

    "What did you say?" Xue'er, who was behind him asked. She heard what he said, but she was confused as to why he muttered those words.

    "Nothing." He consoled, "I just remembered an old acquaintance."

    Xue'er nodded and then decided to dismiss the moment.

    [It doesn't concern me.]
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