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Chapter 23 – Mysterious Net Capturing Swallows

Tian Ying

In around five minutes later, the ruckus in the chasm just grew louder and louder. Soon, the bizarre sound of chirping seem to gather together like a wave. A moment later, a black cloud suddenly soars out from the chasm.

Paying closer attention, the black cloud is formed by countless black swallows.

Standing by one side, Lu Chen observes the swallow carefully and notices that there is a crimson-red circle around their beak. Also, on their tail, there is a few red feathers amidst the black ones and it is bright in contrast to the surrounding black feathers. These swallows seem to fulfill the image of the ‘Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow’ that Hong Chuan spoke of.

Standing on the edge of the depression, Hong Chuan is in a better position to observe the appearance of the swallows. A look of delight appears on his face. Then, muttering some words in his mouth, his hands suddenly jerks and the thin net opens with awhoosh, scattering into the sky and falling onto the flock of swallows.

A series of frenzied chirping could be heard as chaos break out among the flocks of swallows. The holes in the mysterious net isn’t too big or too small, the exact size required to capture these flying swallows. At the same moment, the net emanates a faint glow and it encloses itself in midair, trapping the dozens of flying swallows within before returning back towards Hong Chuan’s hand.

From the throwing of the net to the returning of the net, it was truly a mystical sight. For the net to possess such abilities, it is obviously one of the legendary mystical tools of the cultivators.

Lu Chen stares at the entire process from one side and a hint of a smile creeps on to his lips. His gaze shifts from the chasm to Hong Chuan as he stares intently at him.

Despite standing right beside the chasm, the steep slope not too far from his feet, Hong Chuan isn’t afraid at all. His gaze remains on the mysterious net in the air. Stretching out his hands, he grabs the net and looks into it. Jubilation surges through him as he turns around to smile at Lu Chen, “No doubt about it, this is the Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow!”

Lu Chen nods, “That’s great.” After saying it, a thought flashes through his mind and out of curiosity, he asks, “I remember that these swallows aren’t spirit beasts, so why would you want to capture them?”

Hong Chuan reaches out into the net and takes out a swallow. He looks carefully at the swallow’s tail before plucking out a crimson feather. Then, his hand loosens as he sets the swallow free.

Holding the crimson feather, he smiles towards Lu Chen, “Just for this. The Red-beaked Crimson Feather Swallow may not be a spirit beast, but the crimson feather it is born with is a work of art. If one is willing to go through the trouble, it could be weaved into a beautiful shawl. One of the elders in my sect is interested in it, so I specially came here to look for the crimson feather so as to pay my respects towards her.”

“So that’s the reason.” Lu Chen comes to a realisation. No wonder Hong Chuan is so interested in the swallows, he wanted to flatter her… keng, show his respects!

After understanding the whole story behind it, Lu Chen calmly finds a rock to sit on as he patiently watches Hong Chuan capture the swallows with his mysterious net.

The net is peculiar but useful. Every throw of the net would always capture something, so it didn’t take him long to capture a lot of swallows.

However, Lu Chen soon realised that Hong Chuan has high expectations over the quality of the crimson feather. Normal ones, flawed ones and dull ones, he wouldn’t take any of them. Basically, he would only pick the perfect crimson feathers.

Thus, the speed of his gathering slows. Also, after checking the feather on their tail, Hong Chuan wouldn’t kill them and would set them free. From the looks of it, he is a person who treasures life.

After waiting for a moment, upon seeing Hong Chuan collecting a dozen or so of the beautiful crimson feathers, he couldn’t resist asking, “How many feathers do you need?”

Without hesitation, Hong Chuan replies, “At least a hundred.”

“Oh”. Lu Chen says, “Take your time.”

Hong Chuan sends a grin towards him before focusing his attention back on capturing the swallows.

Just like that, they stayed by the side of the chasm for a long time. The swallows also seem to hunt for food around this mountain, so the dark cloud gathers around the sky above them. Soon, in around an hour’s time, Hong Chuan is finally on the verge of completing his mission.

He gathers up the crimson feathers and counts them. There are a total of 98 of them. He smiles towards Lu Chen and says, “Just one more net would suffice.”

Lu Chen replies with a nod and a smile. Hong Chuan walks back to the side of the chasm and prepares to toss the net once more. However, perhaps due to the flow of time, the sky has already darkened and the number of swallows in the sky has decreased significantly, there were only a few of them scattered around the place.

Hong Chuan could barely capture a couple of them with a single net. At the same time, most of the swallows are flying noisily towards the cliff.

Looking at that sight, Hong Chuan panics. He widens his eyes and waits for the opportune moment. Suddenly, a small group of swallows flies over. There are around a dozen of them and they are heading for the chasm as well. Seeing how most of the swallows has disappeared from the sky, Hong Chuan panics and takes a step forward to toss his net towards that last group of swallows.

The light on the mysterious net flickers. As expected of a mystical treasure, it surrounds the swallows perfectly and flies back over. Out of joy, Hong Chuan steps forward to grab it. However, at this moment, he suddenly hears a shout of alarm from Lu Chen behinds him, “Be careful of where you step!”

Hong Chuan’s heart skips a beat. He subconsciously looks downwards but before he could react, his body inclines forward and he falls downward.

It seems that the location he stood a moment ago isn’t too far from the edge of the cliff. Due to his agitation from the final net he tossed, he forgot to pay attention to the situation beneath his feet. He steps on thin air and slips, causing him to tumble forward.

This time, Hong Chuan is shocked and he exclaims in distress. His hands and feet randomly grabs and steps about the cliff as he tries to latch onto some rock or grass by the cliff to maintain his balance.

However, as he fell down suddenly, the momentum from his fall causes those rock and grass to break apart so he is unable to sustain his grip on it. His body falls uncontrollably downwards. At this moment, a figure rushes forward and in the blink of an eye, he stretches out his hand to grab Hong Chuan’s palm, stopping the descent of his body.

Hong Chuan’s momentum downwards halt as he hangs for a moment in free air. At this moment, his entire body is dangling in midair with the exception of his right hand, which is grabbed by Lu Chen who rushed all the way to the cliff.

The mountain wind blows and the faces of the two men turn ghastly white, traumatised.

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