"Please understand that I can't persuade my sister. I've argued with her for a long time before coming over here, but she has been unruly since young. There's nothing I can do about it," Ning Zhengfeng explained, shrugging.
Xiao Mengyue sneered. "You're worried about losing the best cultivator in your clan, so that's why you deliberately stopped her from coming over."
Instead of being infuriated, Ning Zhengfeng smiled. "You're overthinking it, Mr. Xiao. The situation can't be precarious since we've gathered so many elites. Be it the Gods or Yang Chen, they're not a match for us. This would be a massacre for us to uphold justice."
"I sure wish that's the case." Xiao Mengyue snorted.
"We have yet to leave, and you're already having doubts. That isn't a good color on you," Ning Zhengfeng remarked.
Xiao Mengyue scowled and turned around, no longer intending to entertain him further.
Luo Pingchao, who had been quiet the whole time, chimed in, "Since you're here, lead the way."
Not daring to trifle with him because of his unfathomable cultivation, Ning Zhengfeng agreed and waved his hand forward before leading them in the southwestern direction.
It was morning on the Forgotten Realms where the fog had dissipated and the sun brought warmth to the place.
However, the temperature continued to drop, which was unlike the usual season in the Mediterranean Sea in May.
In the residential area located in the middle was a rather wide stone house. Ron had arranged it for Wang Ma and Minjuan, and now Su Xin had joined them.
At that moment, Lanlan, dressed in a pink cardigan, was seated at the long dining table.
Leaning her arms against the table, she stared at the scrumptious spread with sparkling eyes.
"Look at our little glutton. Your saliva is dropping onto the floor."
Wang Ma came out of the kitchen with a big plate of roasted lamb leg. After putting the plate down, she took a piece of napkin and wiped the little girl's lips.
Pouting, Lanlan grumbled, "Granny Wang, why isn't Mommy and everyone else back yet? I'm hungry."
"They'll be back soon. Wait patiently," Wang Ma coaxed, smiling.
Life on the island was serene and quiet. Commotions were rare there. The islanders were people who wished to change their lives into a simple one.
Wang Ma, Minjuan, and Su Xin were used to living on the island as everything they wanted was there. Besides, they could dine and chat with their neighbors—people who lived on the island in seclusion—so they had a great time.
Recently, Lanlan had been having her meals in Wang Ma and Su Xin's place ever since Xiao Zhiqing brought her over once.
However, it was not because the food was particularly delicious, but rather because the castle was slightly vast and empty for a child.
Even though there were a dozen women and a big group of maids in the castle, the place still felt desolate without Yang Chen around.
The stone house was perfect to let everyone gather and have harmonious meals together.
As a matter of fact, the women were cultivators who no longer viewed food as a necessity, but since it was hard to change their habits so soon, they would still gather with the rest for meals. Besides, everyone else on the island needed to have three meals a day.
Just as Wang Ma spoke, someone walked into the house.
"Mr. Ron, you're here too," she greeted cheerfully upon seeing the old man.
On the other hand, Ron could not cheer up. Forcing a smile and nodding, he replied, "I'm a fan of your cooking. Would that make me seem like a shameless person?"
"No, it doesn't. You're family, Mr. Ron." Wang Ma then asked, "What's wrong? Are you still frustrated over the flowers?"
Ron stroked Lanlan's hair before finding himself a seat. Then, he sighed. "It's all ruined. The temperature is getting lower and lower. Not only have my flowers not bloomed, but many of them have also wilted from the cold. The weather at night is too cold. This isn't summer but autumn. If this goes on, many of the trees will be affected as they're all tropical plants. If the weather is too low, they won't be able to survive."
"Yeah, I wonder how this happened." Su Xin came out of the kitchen at that moment, holding a tray of freshly baked bread. "Many people are guessing if the end of the world is actually coming. They're all worried."
"There's nothing we can do about it. Didn't they say Ms. Jane is researching this phenomenon? We'll have to wait for an answer from the scientists," Wang Ma lamented.
The door to the stone house was opened, and a few women walked in.
Lin Ruoxi headed in with Cai Yan, who probably told some weird joke which caused the former to look at her resignedly.
Mo Qianni, Cai Ning, and the others also walked in while smiling. Upon seeing those inside the house, they greeted them.
"It's time to eat!" Lanlan jumped on the chair. Lin Ruoxi carried her down and pinched her cheek softly. Pretending to be angry, she chided, "I told you many times. You're the youngest here, so you're not allowed to sit in the main seat even if Daddy's not home. Don't be insolent."
Having said so, she put Lanlan down on a high chair, which made the little girl silk in displeasure. She never thought of herself being the youngest one. Even though she was only slightly taller than the table, she could still climb onto the table to eat.
At that time, Jane and her student, Grace, walked into the house.
Both of them were still wearing their lab coats, so they took them off and hung them on the wall before sitting down at the table.
Although it was a long dining table, all of the seats were almost taken. While some served themselves some stew, some grabbed bread. Of course, Lanlan grabbed herself a lamb leg and started munching on it.
"Sister Jane, how is the research going? Why is the temperature dropping continuously?" Zhenxiu asked curiously.
A hint of distress flashed across Jane's eyes before she forced out a smile and said, "I've only found the apparent reason, but I've yet to discover the actual reason."
"Oh? What's the apparent reason? You seem worried," Liu Mingyu asked as she put down her silver spoon.
"Severe loss in solar energy!"
Before Jane could answer, her assistant, Grace, had shouted out earnestly.
Jane slapped the back of her head lightly and chastised, "Did I tell you to answer? Pipe down."
It sounded like Lin Ruoxi lecturing Lanlan.
Grace stuck out her tongue sheepishly and lowered her head to drink the stew.
Her reaction had the other women giggling in amusement, for they thought she seemed like a little girl.
Shaking her head in a resigned manner, Jane then told the rest, "As she said, the energy radiated by the Sun to Earth is weakening continuously."
"How is that possible? Even though I've never learned astronomy, I've read some articles and know that as a star, the Sun is still quite young. Why would its energy weaken?" Mo Qianni asked in puzzlement.
"This would be related to my next discovery. It baffles me to find out that the data from the satellite shows that the solar energy diminishes after entering the atmosphere of Earth. In other words, the problem lies somewhere on our planet. But I haven't got a clue for now. This whole incident is unbelievable."
Seeing the frown on Jane's face, they, too, frowned as they were much more clueless than her.
Jane then added, "At this rate, the Southern Hemisphere would undergo the coldest winter in a month. And when October arrives, the Northern Hemisphere will face an even lower temperature. What I'm more concerned about other than people freezing to death, is the survival of animals and plants. Widespread extinction will occur which consequently affects the ecosystem of Earth."
"Is it that serious? Maybe it'll be better soon?" Wang Ma asked fearfully.
Jane let out a wry smile. "There's no ‘maybe' in science. Everything happens for a reason. Until we find the root cause, nothing can be done to change the current situation."
That worried the others. Since even the usually confident Jane felt helpless, they could tell the gravity of the situation.
Lanlan was the only one enjoying her meal. After devouring a lamb leg, she reached for a large piece of steak.
Suddenly, Jane, Rose, and Cai Ning stood up and rushed out of the house, taking the others by surprise.
"Cultivators are approaching… There are many of them." Zhenxiu and Cai Yan, too, stood up in shock, their expressions solemn.