27 Cottage in the woods

    As the sun rose, the coldness gradually dissipated, filling the air with warmth. In the end, it was still fall and summer was still quite recent, so there was no reason for the weather to have changed so drastically.

    Gan Tian Chi led Xue'er to a clearing in the forest. Within all that dense brush, there was actually a place that had sunshine could reach down on the grass.

    It was a small cottage. The cottage was simple, just as any other common family's cottage. What was special about it was its location, there was no other living person within a ten-mile radius and the closest village was about fifteen miles away.

    [They could not build this cottage in a more isolated place.]

    The cottage was made mostly of wood and bamboo, with a straw roof. Looking so poorly built, that a slight wind could easily blow it away. The doors were carved with simple geometric patterns, it didn't look like much.

    "Come on." Gan Tian Chi said as he walked towards the door that seems to have been untouched for many, many years. Xue'er stayed where she was, a good distance from the door.

    [It hasn't been opened in a while, I wouldn't want to be the one who opens it.]

    With a light push, the door easily opened, and with that, a giant cloud of dust fell on the ground, it was just like a fog, as it swallowed the figure up.

    Gan Tian Chi coughed heavily. He had breathed in a great deal of dust and was exhaling dust, like a dragon's breath after breathing fire. He slowly patted the dust off his shoulders, it was just like a rug that had collected up dust for many years, finally getting beaten to remove the dust collected over a long time.

    Gan Tian Chi helplessly looked towards Xue'er, who was free from dust, as she had been a good distance from the dust cloud, her clothes had not changed, unlike his clothes that had become a gray, powdery color.

    "You clean up the place, I'll wash up." Gan Tian Chi said to Xue'er as he walked outside to look for a place to clean up.

    After all that traveling, they had yet to feel tired, in fact, they were still brimming with energy. They felt that a new house could easily be built, let alone the cleaning of a cottage.

    "Fine." Xue'er sighed.

    [It's on the account that you're the one who opened the door and got bombarded with the dust cloud.]

    Gan Tian Chi set off somewhere to clean himself up, while Xue'er went to the well to fetch a bucket of water, with a rag and set to clean the inside of the cottage.

    The cottage was surprisingly spacious inside, it would have felt like a whole different world, if not for the thick layers of dust covering everything.

    [How long has this place been neglected?]

    She dipped the rag into the bucket of water and started cleaning. Within no time, the water became a gray sludge from the accumulation of wiping the dust and submerging the towel in the water.

    By the time she finished with the cleaning, the water was no longer recognizable as water and the rag in her hand had become one with the dust.

    [It would have been easier with a broom.] Xue'er thought to herself after she finished cleaning.

    She finally saw the room as an entirety, it was now spotless, those past traces of neglect had already been wiped clean. Now, everything was spotless.

    For the first, she could clearly see what the place looked like before it was abandoned for the dust to accumulate.

    [How long does it take for that much dust to form anyway?]

    The place had simple furnishings, with two separate beds that had folded quilts in its separate room, its walls were made of a strong and sturdy bamboo. There was a study area that had a library that had ancient bamboo scrolls, with desk overflowing with piles of neatly stacked papers, with a rattan chair, and there was even a small kitchen at the back.

    After all that cleaning, Xue'er decided to go look for Gan Tian Chi. She had already finished cleaning, while he only had to go clean himself, either way, she was the one with the larger workload, therefore, he should have long been done.

    She arrived at the nearest river in a breath's time and saw that Gan Tian Chi's shadow was nowhere in sight.

    [Where did he go now?]

    She wondered, as her ears perked up, searching for any signs that may hint to where he had gone.

    Of course, this was useless, if he truly wanted to conceal his presence from her, not to mention her sensitive ears, even if she were to comb through the entire forest hundreds of times, she would still be unable to find a trace of him.

    She had long admitted that he was far more knowledgeable than her and it was something she accepted.

    She jumped to a tree branch, deciding to wait until he called to her, after all, she was sure that he knew exactly where she was.

    It didn't take long until a sound was heard: "Xue'er, over here." A voice whispered out from an unknown location.

    Listening to the sound of the sound of the voice, she followed it until she reached a soft patch of grass that was well protected under a tree large and underneath it, Gan Tian Chi was waiting with the carcass of a giant bird.

    She did not even know how he managed to hunt the bird, let alone kill it. Looking at the carcass that did not have any obvious wounds, she then looked up at him with a suspicious look.

    With their deep internal energy, they did not feel hunger, nor did they have the need to eat like normal people, perhaps they could actually get away without eating altogether, but there had never been a person that decided how long they could last without food, it would have been seen as madness.

    "I thought I should wait, so we could eat together." He said as he tossed her two stones to start a fire with.

    Xue'er's hands fumbled around with the stones, before a fire was lit, after all, she wasn't used to these outdoor activities. She felt slightly embarrassed, as she replayed the images of how poorly she did building the fire in her mind.

    [It seems I need to spend more time getting used to living in the forest.]

    She made up her mind.
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