It took him half a day to reach Sichuan. The moment the plane landed, he hopped off and quickly ran to the arrival hall where he saw Cai Ning waiting for him.
Cai Ning had arrived much earlier, dressed in a refreshing white blouse. Her black hair swayed gently in the breeze. She wore a pair of skin-tight jeans which accentuated her long, flawless legs.
Cai Ning was famously not one associated with makeup, but her mesmerizing aura of elegance captivated the attention of the men surrounding her.
But those men did not realize that on top of being a beauty, she was also a skilled martial arts expert and a national agent to boot.
“Sorry for the wait.” Yang Chen went up and held onto her hand.
Cai Ning shook her head as her lips curved up ever so slightly. “It’s fine.”
She could have told him how long she waited, but she decided to dismiss it instead. Yang Chen felt a tug at his heartstrings
“How are we getting there?” Yang Chen curiously asked, unaware of where the Tang Sect was.
This ancient sect should probably be located somewhere secluded from society. But due to the age of industrialization and modernization, there wasn't an inch left on this earth that was still undiscovered. So where could it possibly be?
Cai Ning then replied, “Follow me.”
Unbothered by Yang Chen’s confusion, she dragged him along and left to the public bus station right outside the airport departures gate.
Yang Chen was dumbfounded but wasn’t sure where he should head next, so he could only obey Cai Ning’s decision as they hopped onto an arriving bus.
As the bus plodded through the traffic for the next twenty minutes, Yang Chen eventually couldn’t help but ask, “Ning’er, why do we have to take public transportation? Are you telling me this bus can take us to the Tang Sect?”
Cai Ning was enthusiastically watching out the window at the traffic below before she was interrupted by Yang Chen’s inquiry. “Nope, we’ll get down at the next station.”
A few minutes later, the couple hopped off the bus, but before Yang Chen could wrap his head around the situation, he was dragged onto a different, even smaller bus!
Yang Chen left speechless.
The car had a few elderly passengers, but the seats were mostly empty. The driver himself was quite old and the bus looked like it had seen better days.
Yang Chen and Cai Ning sat next to the partially opened window. As the vehicle clanked its way through the traffic, Yang Chen asked, “Ning’er, that Tang Sect is in the Pujiang district right?”
“Then why don’t we just order a ride there?”
“A chartered car would set us back two hundred bucks at the very least, but the bus would just cost us a little more than twenty.” Cai Ning was steadfast on her reply.
Yang Chen was left in a daze. It dawned upon him that he had grown insensitive to spending large amounts of money. Maybe it was because he was married to Lin Ruoxi, that money meant less to him at this point.
But the point was, Cai Ning was not poor to begin with!
“This is gonna take forever, isn’t it?” Yang Chen frustratedly grabbed onto a clump of his hair. “Why didn’t you say so earlier? I would have offered to pay.”
Cai Ning appeared rather dejected from his statement. “You… don’t like spending time with me?”
Those words caught Yang Chen off-guard as he was glued to his seat, unable to fathom the turn of events.
Noticing the tinge of disheartenment in her eyes, he immediately realized that they might have confessed their feelings, but not once did they manage to spend time with one another like a couple!
From Cai Ning’s perspective, this trip to Tang Sect might be a task that Yang Chen requested, but it was also a golden opportunity for them to go on a rare couple excursion together.
That was why the woman was in immense anticipation to embark on this journey together, regardless of it lasting just a few days. It was an experience she was going to cherish forever.
Nonetheless, with Cai Ning’s personality, even if it was to build their relationship, it was not something she would mention upfront.
That ultimately led to the tedious start of their journey by riding the bus, as a means to extend their time together.
As the thoughts ran amok in mind, Yang Chen consciously repressed his grin as he let out a light sigh. “You’ve misunderstood. I’d have never thought of any of that. My bad, feel free to blame it on me.”
Cai Ning was embarrassed. “Don’t you just want to laugh at how stupid I am, to think of something like that?”
Yang Chen scratched on his face as he replied, “Can I be honest?”
“It’s pretty stupid,” Yang Chen earnestly replied.
Cai Ning’s head sunk so deep in embarrassment it was almost touching her chest.
Yang Chen burst into laughter at the expense of everyone on board as he brought himself close to her ear. “Ning’er, why don’t we get off at the next stop?”
“What, we’re not there yet. It’s a two-hour ride!”
Yang Chen awkwardly shuffled in his seat. “To fully embrace your plan, I thought to get off and then get on the next bus back to the airport, then we hop on the following one that leads to Pujiang. That way we’ll have as much time together as we want.”
Cai Ning finally noticed that Yang Chen was teasing her as she bit on her teeth. She contemplated cold and hard on ways she could express her dissatisfaction, but eventually chose to just stare out the window and ignore her lover.
Before her reddened cheeks could recover, Yang Chen reached out his arms and encircled her waist from behind.
Cai Ning was wearing a rather thin blouse, which meant that she could feel the heat from his palms. Paired with the masculine odor from the man, it made her heart beat like a drum.
Yang Chen topped it all off by laying his head on her shoulder, taking huge breaths while doing so.
“Don’t move, just let me embrace you. We’ll daydream together.”
“Yeah, stop thinking about anything else. Right here right now, it’s just me and you.”
Ever since she was young, she had been sent off to the Tang Sect to cultivate. Upon her eventual return to the city, she was sent on mission after mission. Hence when it came to romance, she was a blank slate. Yang Chen’s slight teasing caused her to melt into a puddle.
Yang Chen kept his playful side to himself, knowing for a fact that she wouldn’t be able to cope. But as time passed, he gradually fell into his own words of procrastination.
Perhaps he thought, when spending time with different women, that his forms of interactions would change to suit the cause.
If he were with that vixen An Xin, casual hugs like these might make her worry that he was ‘unable to perform’!
On the other hand, Cai Ning was quiet and reserved. The slightest bit of intimacy would set her off. It was instead soothing interactions like this that could close the gap between their relationship.
Two hours was hardly a short time, but in their situation, it did not feel very long either.
It was already around evening as the couple hopped off the bus. They might not have had lunch, but it hardly had any effect on their wellbeing, as meals were relegated to nothing but life’s pleasures.
The Pujiang district was located south of the Sichuan province, where rain and water were aplenty and the weather was temperate.
Standing on a sand dune by the bus station, one could fully appreciate the glory of the city.
Yang Chen instantly scanned the area for his destination. But the land was flat and mostly barren. Where would a secret sect hide in a place like that?
If there was anything out of the ordinary, it would be the thick growth of huge swabs of Masson pine, Evergreen dragonfly, and eucalyptus plants.
“This is where I grew up.” Cai Ning rather dispiritedly described a shanty town, that was hardly even a city by any means of measure. “Let’s go, Master must have got someone to pick us up.”
Yang Chen realized that his lover was rather anxious, but he was not sure why.
He eventually concluded it to be her resentment to the land that had left her with an unforgiving past throughout much of her adolescence.
Yang Chen tailed Cai Ning down south from the bus stop via the asphalt road for a couple of minutes, before they eventually arrived at a modest marketplace.
Due to their time of arrival, the marketplace was mostly empty. The stalls and shops were mostly left unsupervised as their owners were busy in the back playing poker or mahjong.
Yang Chen was stupefied. This is nothing but a common public area. Where would the Tang Ancestral Fortress fit?
Before Yang Chen could question their whereabouts, a skinny man dressed in a navy blue short sleeve paired with gray khaki shorts came running out from the preserved meat store. He had short hair, which exhibited a sense of innocence and vigor.
The man’s footsteps were as light as a feather, and his seemingly ordinary footsteps had traces of lightness skill at play.
“Senior, you’re here!”
The man exclaimed from joy of seeing her, his voice crisp and clear.
Cai Ning respectfully smiled at his presence, before she turned to Yang Chen and started to explain, “This is my junior, Tang Lizhong. He’s the youngest son of the current grandmaster Tang Dianshan. He’s younger than me by a year, so we pretty much grew up together.”
“Nice to meet you.” Yang Chen noticed that the man had decent looks, albeit not as good as himself as he presumed, but would make a decent friend nonetheless.
“Lizhong, let me introduce you. This is… Yang Chen, he’s my friend,” Cai Ning added.
“What friend?!” Yang Chen was agitated by her remark. “Just tell him I’m your man! Unless you plan to leave me.”
Cai Ning was red as a tomato, knowing for a fact that she couldn’t bring herself to admit to that.
Tang Lizhong also had a steadfast personality as he burst into laughter after witnessing how the situation panned out. “Senior, you don’t have to fake it anymore. The rest of us here found out at one point. When you told Auntie that you were going to bring someone back to Tang Ancestral Fortress, you wouldn’t expect us to skip the background check on this person right?
“Mr Yang Chen here is truly a formidable cultivator to say the least. Never would we expect that we would come across a man of his status! But honestly, you don’t look much different from us commoners, though I did hear that you’re a Xiantian Full Cycle cultivator!”
As for Yang Chen’s advancement into the Soul Forming stage, paired with his encounter with the Tai Qing Heavenly Lightning, within the Yellow Flame Iron Brigade, even the likes of Cai Yuncheng was not really sure about the details. In China, only Yang Gongming and Yan Sanniang were aware, which was they thought Yang Chen was only at Xiantian Full Cycle.
Nonetheless Yang Chen was hardly bothered by all that as he casually dropped a harmless joke. “I’m not good with silent weapons nor the lightness skill so I’m afraid I can’t do much in the way of teaching. Oh yeah, if you’re not married yet I can share my skills of how I stole your senior’s heart.”
Cai Ning instantly reacted upon his remark as she elbowed his waist, with a soul-piercing glare she exploded. “Shut it!”
Yang Chen defeatedly chuckled. His intentions of getting close with Cai Ning’s junior was somehow backfired.
Tang Lizhong was the awkward bystander in that circumstance as he forced a grin. He would never have guessed that his senior would end up falling for a sneaky punk like this one. Without further ado, he quickly took to proclaim, “The car’s right in front. Let’s get back to the sect.”