80 The Little Bookworm in Solitude

    Xue'er's eyes still scanned the book in her hand. It was as though these days, the only things she did were reading and going to the embroidery shop when needed. She didn't even return to the inn where she would have been given meals. It could be seen just how much she valued her time among these books.

    It was as though there were so many books and so little time, and she valued her time a lot. Though there was no one to help her comprehend the information, she had done a pretty decent job herself, understanding most of the books in the library. Even when night fell, she would light a candle and continue on reading.

    She did not notice as her little red worm arrived back to her side, nor the small white shadow that flashed into the cottage.

    Only when she felt an intense surge of pain in her index finger, did she look up to find that the little creature had bitten into her index finger and drew blood. The pain made her pull back her hand, as she glared at the little creature who stayed in its spot looking back at her innocently.

    This thing really had sharp teeth, sharper than most knives and weapons.

    On the third day that she entered the cottage, she had unwrapped the white cloth that had been binding around her palm, to see the skin that was as pale as always. There was not even the slightest trace of anything else that may suggest a wound.

    She looked up from her book and at the small little animal and placed her bloodied finger on its furry head. She did not seem to mind to the wound it had inflicted on her, caring less about the state of her body.

    "Why do you continue to bite me after I have saved you?" She asked, as though expecting the little thing to return her an answer.

    It did not make a sound, merely tilting its head to the side in confusion.

    "I shall call you little shadow." She immediately declared as she patted its fur, getting her blood all over its small little head.

    Little shadow shook it's furry head violently making angry growling noises, as though yelling [Don't get your blood all over my body!!!]

    "What? You don't like it?" Xue'er asked, "If you don't like it then feel free to leave, I'm not forcing you to stay here, it is you who barged in." Finished saying that, she returned to reading her book.

    The little shadow, seeing that it could not get a reaction out of her ran outside into the gardens. It really loved this strange and mysterious place that was not raining, like it was in the outside world.

    As Xue'er was reading, she unconsciously placed her bloodied finger into her mouth, tasting her own blood. It was a refreshingly unique taste, and she had also drawn more blood by putting it into her mouth. She did not dare sully the precious books of the cottage with her tainted blood.

    These few days, she had been slowly absorbing the knowledge of the books that were in the cottage. Though there weren't many, they were all greatly detailed, and perhaps something that even people with wealth could only wish to have.

    It was these days that she felt was like a paradise with a gentle breeze wafting her way. She simply couldn't be happier.

    Only when there were sounds of bells ringing, did she look up to see little shadow running with a red ribbon attached to a string of bells dangling in its mouth.

    She gave a giggle, bending down to take the ribbon, "For me?" She asked as she smiled some more.

    Her hand caressed the silk ribbon that was dyed red and the small silver bells that were made with a strange style of metal work melded with beautiful patterns that reflected the brightest lights into one's eyes.

    "Where did you get this?" She looked at little shadow suspiciously.

    [Could it be that it was stolen?]

    It was highly likely considering the beautiful craftsmanship that had been put into it. There was absolutely no one that would throw it away on the streets somewhere. As she looked at the silk ribbon, the more and more she believed something was off. She just couldn't remember.

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    [Oh yes, it's almost new years eve!] The recollection suddenly struck her. She had forgotten because she had been held up in this paradise of knowledge.

    Today was the 29th day of the 12th month, there were only two more days until the eve of the new lunar year.

    She carelessly stuffs the string of bells into her bag and runs out the vicinity of the cottage. The rain poured like buckets, soaking her thoroughly.

    "Uhh..." She groaned. Dammit, how could she have forgotten the outside world was still in the middle of a pouring storm. Sometimes living in seclusion really makes you forget about the outside world.

    Slightly shaking off her body, she controlled her internal energy to make a gentle shield around her, that was like a bubble. Any rain that tried to get onto her body would be guided aside, this could keep the rain from further getting on her body.

    With the invisible bubble protecting her, she slowly made her way to the border town. She walked on the muddy paths that had been. Her eyes listlessly looked at the mud that was flowing downwards, though it was more like mud water than actual mud.

    She suddenly thought of something,

    [The good rain knows its season,

    When spring arrives, it brings life.

    It follows the wind secretly into the night,

    And moistens all things softly, without sound.

    On the country road, the clouds are all dark,

    In the villages the people are silently waiting]

    This poem that Xue'er silently recited in her mind spoke nothing of the truth, just a slightly more optimistic perception of the rain than what Gan Tian Chi thought of.

    The pathway to the city, which existed as a slippery mud road was empty as always. Though it was the new year, the guards couldn't bother themselves to be guarding the city, simply opening the gates when morning came and closing them when night fell.
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