24 Irresponsible guardian

    "Wait, what do you mean you have been there before?" Xue'er asked curiously, as they climbed over a large boulder making their way up the mountain.

    "I have been in there before." He repeated himself.

    "So, what are those shadow people? Why do they have different techniques? And am I allowed to keep the things I found in there?"

    After getting bombarded with questions from the little girl, he directly said: "You will find out in time."

    "But shouldn't you tell me if you know, aren't you my guardian?" This was the most irresponsible guardian she ever met, even though she only ever had two.

    [Does Gan Tian Chi count as a guardian?]

    "When did I say I would be your guardian?" Gan Tian Chi asked, in a deep wonder.

    [When did I ever promise to commit myself to be her guardian?]

    "So a year ago at the abandoned temple, when you said 'Follow me' you weren't promising to become my guardian?" She asked him.

    "No, I never make promises." He said.

    "Oh, why?" She was slightly dejected but immediately rebounded him with her question filled with curiosity.

    "I don't make commitments, nor do I like to owe favors." He answered blandly. He hated commitments, since promises were such a serious matter, nor did he like owe favors, simply because his favors were priceless.

    A favor from him can be as small as cooking a meal, or as large as bringing the collapse of a kingdom. It didn't matter how strong of a foundation of the kingdom had, as long as he made a move, a new dynasty would soon be established and the previous one would rot.

    But of course, he didn't need to personally make a move, with the ambition of the kings and officials, kingdoms would fall and there would wars. He didn't even need to lift a finger.

    He simply loved to enjoy his travels, it was a feeling of delight to be carefree and watch others struggle in this chaotic world.

    "Hmm..." Xue'er sighed.

    Seeing her so dejected, Gan Tian Chi couldn't help but tell her: "Those shadow people are just lost souls accumulated over the millenniums of years, they are nothing but slaves to the underground maze, perhaps there was a time when they did have glory in their lifetimes, but now that time has long past. They are not the first and they certainly won't be the last."

    [Lost souls?] Xue'er couldn't help but shiver,

    [To have once had glory, were once superior martial artist of their time, but doomed to serve the underground maze as slaves for an eternity.] Xue'er couldn't bear such a thought.

    Yet still, she remains emotionless, as she hikes up the rocky pathway that seemed to be never-ending.

    "Xue'er, why do I feel that you talk more than when we first met?" Gan Tian Chi sensed that she was slightly different than when they first met.

    "..." Xue'er shrugged. It was not that she had changed, but that he never knew her well. After all, he had barely known her in the week that they spent traveling across the various types of terrain, before arriving at the entrance of the underground cave where he left her.

    "Let me tell you something, you should never owe someone a favor when you make a name for yourself in the world because those favors are often extravagant beyond one's reaches." Gan Tian Chi suddenly said it was as if he wanted to teach her about the vast world.

    "Then I will remain unknown." Xue'er proclaimed, with her lips slightly curved upward.

    [Only fools would wish to draw attention to themselves.]

    "That's good too, no matter how famous a person is, one day they will not be remembered. Why not stay unknown from the beginning?" Gan Tian Chi asked.

    His words were profound and full of meaning. His teachings were all filled with heart and soul, in hopes that Xue'er would take what he said to heart.

    And she would forever remember his teachings.

    After a while, they arrived at the top of the valley, that would be considered the ground level. At this point, Xue'er was able to oversee how large the valley was. Compared to a mountain, it was perhaps ten mountains deep, and one mountain wide. It looked like a hole that led straight to the depths of the earth.

    The rocky walls that surrounded the mountains were covered in overgrowths of mountains and trees. It was an extension of the forest that it was centered around, just never ending lushes of green growth and vegetation.

    Truly a paradise.

    "Where are we?" Xue'er asked for the first time since he brought her to this place. Last year, when they were here, she had never once asked him of their specific location, but now that she was in this unknown territory, she decided to ask.

    "This is a forest border between the Northern Wei Kingdom and the Eastern Jin Kingdom." Gan Tian Chi explained as he walked toward a random direction, with a smile on his face. Perhaps it was not random, but it seemed that way as he did not look towards the sky or try to find a direction to follow.

    At his response, she closed her eyes and the image of the map appeared, it was from the time she had stayed in the military camp. She knew that it would come in useful one day and it appears that the day has come.

    She remembered that in the most recent structure of the continent, there were three kingdoms: the Eastern Jin Kingdom, Northern Wei Kingdom, and the Southern Mo Kingdom. These three kingdoms have had a peaceful existence for the past decade, aside from the few tensions that would occur at the border.

    Although there was a loss here and there of a few miles of territory from time to time, but none of the kingdoms would be willing to start a war. As once it started, all three kingdoms would get involved, because there was no kingdom willing to see another double in size and become a threat to them.

    It could be said that the kingdom that invades, would be the enemy of the two other kingdoms, bearing the brunt of the joint attacks.

    Therefore, it was unlikely that there would be a change with the three kingdoms anytime soon unless a divine being intervened.

    "What do you plan to do?" Xue'er asked after she saw that smile.
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