Charles looks in front of him while feeling calm and free. It has been three days journey. The Dragon Gorge is not far.
To cross the Western Plains from Lindberg, one must pass the Dragon Gorge first. After that, the Dragon Pass guarded by the Black Dragon, Rheon Shone.
After three days of journey they even stumble into a dilapidated temple of Ulr. Charles thought to himself.
‘What a coincidence! ‘Charles insisted to pray in the temple while his Uncle just shakes his head at Charles behavior clearly disapproving his nephew devotion to the gods, yet he did not reject Charles request.
Contrary to the nobility household in Westhold, his Uncle is not a fond believer of the Seven Gods and the Aesiron.
His Uncle could be considered an eccentric among the nobles of Westhold.
He did not squander his wealth, rarely cares about people opinion, does not meddle in the court, and did not surround himself with scholars like many of the nobles in the Court.
He also rarely prays to the Gods of Aesiron other than when he was obligated to when the Annual Martial Arts Competition in Westhold is organized.
Some even believe that he worship the Golden Emperor of the Eresian but that is not quite true either since no one has seen ever worshiping the statue of the Golden Emperor.
Either way, Charles did not view his uncle faithless as a bad thing since he too does not believe in the Gods that much.
But, when he experienced what he has experienced, how could he not acknowledged that there is some force out there, powerful enough to change the cycle of life and death, of rebirth and reincarnation?
He look at the statue and in his eyes were reflected his sincerity, looking straight at the statue before lowering his eyes in respect
The statue of Ulr in this temple is imposing; His face was clean minus a scar with a shape of a thunderbolt on his left side of his forehead.
Behind Him was a ring drum; in his left hand were the Hammer of Primordial Thunder.
On the left side of the temple were the colorful paintings depicting the Thunder Emperors of the Five Region, all of them has demon like appearance and fierce disposition, with a pose of imperial disposition.
On the right side is the Thunder Kings of the Five Regions all of them riding the clouds with the golden chariots of lightning, ready for battle with swords, blades, war axe and variety of weapons.
Because of the condition of the Temple, the painting is faded and the statue is covered with cobwebs and dust.
But Charles does not mind it.
Charles kneel in front of the statue and kowtowed nine times and then put his hand together and pray for a safe journey and thank the Gods for the miracle that has shaped him.
He kneels because he is showing his respect and gratitude, opening his eyes to the vastness of the universe.
He kowtowed nine times because he was expressing his gratefulness for once again returning him to his world.
He does not know whether that force is really Ulr the God of Thunder or something else but it is Ulr Necklace that brings him back.
He is just putting a face to this force. Whether it is Ulr or the Golden Emperor of the other gods in this world, he just wanted to express his gratitude.
Then he got up and put his hand together and bowed in respect and humbleness. Then coming out of the temple, he feels his soul is energized and his mind become clear.
His Uncle did not say anything only looking at the temple with a nonchalant attitude and then they continue their journey.
As hours passed they finally reached near the Dragon Gorge.
The Dragon Gorge is famous for its elegance. Winding over 25 miles, its starts from the estuary of Westwand River.
It is also called the Emperor Gorge. It used to be one of the Three Gorge but during the Age of Magic, the other Gorge was sliced out of existence.
‘Nephew’ Charles was startled as he saw his uncle rides beside him.
‘Uncle! Uncle has startled me.’
‘How is your body?’
‘I’m still fine’
‘That is good. After we reach my Honorable Teacher, Uncle will ask him what is wrong with your body.’
‘Nephew thanks Uncle for this matter.’
Lancel nodded and once again slow down his rides as he guarded the rear.
A few days ago, when they make a camp in the forest, Charles urges his uncle to teach him some martial arts.
His uncle wanted to incite the internal energy inside Charles body only to find Charles squirming in pain.
‘Hmph’ Charles snorted.
Even he doesn’t understand this.
When his body transported back, he clearly felt the power of his body compressed inside his body.
The accumulation of decades of physical training strength can clearly be felt.
But even then, his body could not expel this bizarre disease.
Even in Earth with all of its technological advances, the only thing Charles knows is that his disease would only flare up in cold places.
That is why every winter, Charles would feel indescribable pain making him suffers from headache, loss of energy, dizziness and confusion.
It gets worse every year. In Earth however the disease abated and even almost disappears completely during his adult’s years.
But the moment he returns back to this world, he could feel that sinister energy in his body again.
‘Ah. Forget it. I could not do anything about it yet. Maybe Uncle Teacher will know what is wrong with me.’
Even though Charles said this he was not holding any hope since even in his childhood his disease has always baffled physician.
It is better he enjoys the scenery as Charles smiles looking at the forest on his left and right. So different from earth with its steel cage they called a city.
Since there are strange peaks, and grotesque rocks as well as fog and clouds surround the gorge, it is notable.
Because of the long and deep canyons here, the daily period of sunlight is short which impedes the dispersal of air borne moisture within the gorge and so creates clouds and fog in a variety of fantastic shapes.
How wonderful it is!
Charles takes another deep breath of air and chuckles in happiness.
‘Look, nephew, the Twelve Peaks’ his uncle suddenly exclaimed as Charles looks at the direction his Uncle is pointing.
Along the Dragon Gorge there are twelve peaks on each bank. These are the most prominent aspects of the scenery of Dragon Gorge.
Then his Uncle said with great mood
‘The six peaks along the northern bank are Climbing Dragon Peak, Sage Spring Peak, Facing Clouds Peak, Goddess Peak, Fir Tree Cone Peak, and the Congregated Immortals Peak. Each peak has a story; each peak is beautiful like the dwelling of Immortals in the belief of the Golden Emperor.’
‘Uncle is knowledgeable’ Charles respectfully said as he keeps looking at the peak with a sense of wonderment and awe and Lancel smiles.
While Lancel does not know much about strategizing or schemes, he is very knowledgeable.
Before he becomes the Lord of Morova, he roams the Jianghu, traversing the mountains and the lakes.
‘How about the Southern Banks, Uncle?’ Charles said as he pointed his finger to the Southern Bank. Lancel then puff out his chest and enthusiastically inform Charles.
‘The southern bank has Flying Phoenix Peak, Misty Screen Peak, Assembled Cranes Peak, Clean Altar Peak, Rising Cloud Peak, and Rising Peak; while the last three are not at the riverside. Among the twelve, the Goddess Peak is the highest and most notable.’
Says Lancel as he looks at the Peak and Charles followed Lancel gaze and nodded, admitting its elegance.
‘As it is the first peak to welcome the sun’s glow and says farewell to its afterglow, it is also called ‘Looking at the Sunglow peak’.
Charles nodded and admires the beautiful nature.
They passed the Gorge uneventfully. Chatting about the matters of the world, Lancel even had to admit to himself the mind of his Nephew is very bright.
Charles is an eager student and anything that tickles his curiosity; he will ask the question to Lancel.
Charles asks Lancel about the matters of the Seven Kingdoms, the Prince and Princesses, the places and mountains, the cultures and trades routes and many more.
By then a week has passed.
They passed a few hamlets and small villages and it during this time; they stock their foods and drinks.
Sometimes when they arrived at a village which offers inn, they will also take a rest in it.
Even as they ride, at night Charles still tries to incite the internal energy inside his body only to found failure.
But all in all, they passed the days riding to the Dragon Pass without problem as they move closer to Dragon Pass.
In the distance one man shrouded with a black veil is looking at Lancel and the boy. He was hidden.
The man was actually doing reconnaissance around here searching for someone on behalf of the Red Snow Palace sect.
The man hiding himself in the forest is Liu Yi.
When he heard the neighing of a horse he quickly hid himself around the bushes.
Even though Liu Yi martial arts are not high and his attainment in internal energy is not powerful, his sect is known to have superb stealth movement skills called Treading the Wind.
So, the moment those two people come near him he uses this skill to remain unhidden, his breath follows the rhythm of the wind, his battle intent was masked by nature, making him one with the Heaven and Earth.
This technique makes him undetectable even from someone like Lancel.
He saw that the two person were actually a pair of uncle and nephew, so Liu Yi was about to greet them both, thinking that he was overthinking things again.
Liu Yi tasked involved in finding the Lu Dongpo, an enemy of Red Snow Palace.
Since his sect has an alliance with the Red Snow Palace he as a young and promising younger generation of his sect volunteer himself.
Of course Liu Yi only wanted to wander the land and enjoy the world. He was unlike his Senior and Junior who likes to trains in martial art and making a name in Jianghu.
He comes from a poor family. During the war between Chu and Qin, his family was caught up in the war and killed by invading soldiers.
His current teacher found him almost starved to death under a Bodhi tree and brings him to the sect and takes him as his fourth disciple.
But he was lazy in training and only trains because he did not want to disappoint his teacher that saved him.
He did not want to train in those killing moves and hidden weapons technique because in his opinion his sect killing techniques are too brutal and does not conform to his heart.
His Teacher was frustrated and gives him the manual of Treading the Wind a movement skills created by one of the Sect Head.
It was hard to teach, and harder to learn. But despite that Liu Yi has almost an uncanny ability to understand this technique, making the other teachers in the sect felt perplexed.
It was because of this technique he was called a genius. But he still did not want to teach any those killing techniques and frustrates his teacher which is why his teacher agreed on him taking an excursion on the outside world.
A few days ago, he was on the brothel at the Pass, enjoying the wine and woman, when his Senior Brother caught up to him and found him in the brothel.
He was severely scolded and his Senior Brother threaten to tell his teacher about his transgression.
He then con his Senior Brother telling he was so far away from Jiangnan and even enter the Pass to the Eastern Land is because he got information that Lu Dongpo is seen around the Gorge.
So, Liu Yi was ordered to go investigate.
This is him investigating.
But for the past few days, Liu Yi don’t know which idiot spread his word, that even the people from the Golden Snake Sect also come over here making him has a hard time.
Liu Yi was not a stupid person.
He knows that Lu Dongpo though he is a troublemaker in Jianghu, how would he incur the wrath of Red Snow Palace unless Lu Dongpo found out some secrets that the Red Snow Palace fears getting out?
This is why Liu Yi did not want to find Lu Dongpo.
Why would he trouble a man like that? Since Liu Yi knows how Red Snow Palace treats their enemy.
The Golden Snake must come here to find out what Lu Dongpo has known. It is thankful that today there is a matter in the Pass making the Golden Snake unable to come to the Gorge.
The result was that his Senior Brother not only trusted him more but told him to search more vigorously around the Gorge.
Of course, Liu Yi couldn’t really tell to his Senior Brother that he was just making up a story. So, he keeps searching the Gorge.
Who would have thought he got such a reward today?
When he was about to greet the two people he recognizes the scabbard of the man and immediately hid himself back around the forest.
‘It is Lancel’ Liu Yi said to himself.
‘The Red Sword Lancel’ he repeated and he smirk.
‘I can ditch work again today’ Liu Yi said as he was eager to report this to his Senior Brother.
Then as the pair of uncle and nephew fades from his sight, Liu Yi come out from his hiding and quickly brought out the basket he prepares.
Inside the basket is a messenger birds. He write something in a parchment, rolled and tied the parchment on the bird feet and set the bird free.
Then straightening his back, he smiles and whistles as his mind is now thinking of that beautiful waterfall he found yesterday.
Today, he wanted to play around that waterfall before coming back to the Pass.
As he walked away, he whistles in happiness.