Food was served. Before Lacey could say a word, Ethan started to eat. He didn’t try to be polite.
He behaved as if this were his own place.
He never let himself stay hungry if he could help it.
Lacey didn’t say anything. She eyed Ethan curiously as she ate.
Ethan was a mystery.
He had been a mystery since he had first appeared.
She knew that she knew little about his origins and his mystery identity. He might be a spy who had infiltrated Clearheart Sect and who harbored ulterior motives. But she didn’t want to think about that.
She could feel it. Ethan did not harbor any ill intentions towards her. Her instincts felt strong and true.
“I have a name.”
Lacey shrugged. “Ethan, I’m curious. Who sent you to help me?”
“I told you. The time isn’t right. Why are you still asking?”
Ethan continued eating. It didn’t seem like he was going to answer her question.
“Can’t you give a clue?”
Lacey was exasperated.
She had never been challenged by anyone like this before.
She was the Third Miss of Clearheart Sect, the one who had the worst temper. She was the one who pushed other people around. When had she ever bent to the will of someone else?
“Fine, I won’t ask,” she said in resignation. “Will that do?”
“Yes,” said Ethan.
He sounded distant, as if he had no emotions. The expressionless look on his face drove Lacey insane.
“What about my training? Do I continue to train like this tomorrow?” said Lacey in an attempt to continue the conversation.
“I don’t think you’ve met the requirements that I’ve set.” Ethan looked up and eyed her. “There’s less than a month to the test. You don’t have much time left. Buck up and don’t embarrass yourself.”
He gave Lacey a onceover before shaking his head lightly. “You still have a long way to go.”
Lacey nearly threw a tantrum.
She had only one thought in her mind then. I’m going to kill him!
That bastard. Couldn’t he say something nice?
Would it kill him to not hurt her pride?
She was a girl! How could he bully a girl?
She glared at Ethan with an accusatory look on her face and bit her lips. There was nothing she could say to him though.
Ethan was right. She still had a long way to go. If she failed the test, she would be sent to the Outer Court and be mocked by everyone in Clearheart Sect.
Lacey took a deep breath and took her anger out on the food. She didn’t say a word as she ate.
Ethan basked in the undisturbed quietness. He finished his meal leisurely, then sat in a corner and began to contemplate in silence.
The world inside the mountain was clearly no longer the same world that the cemetery caretaker had remembered. Many years had passed since then, so this world must have changed drastically.
The cemetery caretaker and his brother had been away for too many years. The problem Ethan had now wasn’t their age, but the era that they had originally come from when they were still living in the mountain.
The antidote might not be as easily found now. That would be a problem.
“There is something special about Clearheart Sect after all.”
The universe within the mountain was vast. Ethan knew nothing about its lands or how they were carved up amongst the powerful. He did not have any opportunity to look for answers either.
His current disguise wouldn’t last long before someone found out who he was. In fact, Ethan had not thought of hiding his true identity.
Doing so wasn’t going to help him. It would hinder his actions.
Opportunity went hand in hand with danger. What would happen if someone were to find out that he had come from the world outside the mountain?
Ethan believed that someone in Clearheart Sect already knew.
Extreme Sect. The sect certainly lived up to its name.
Some might think that it was simply a name. But to others, the namesake was burdened with meaning.
Ethan sat as still as a statue. His silhouette lengthened under the moonlight. It was a mesmerizing sight.
Lacey sat some distance away and pouted. She could only watch from afar. She didn’t want to talk to Ethan. She didn’t want to invite further insult by opening her mouth. Her confidence might not survive another blow!