She tried her best to stay under the eves of the roof tiles as she walked towards the direction of the inn, but everything was for naught, as she felt the cool and wet sensation gnawing on her skin.
The skies were full of dark clouds, and the rain had already created puddles in the holes of the unmaintained road that was the alleyway.
Looking at these muddy holes, one would forget that this was a town that could be considered a city, and not some rural village in the countryside that did not have the means to keep their streets in a good condition.
The inn that she was staying at was was still as deserted as always. It seemed that in her absence, there was not an extra customer that arrived.
That was a good thing, she did not think that she could handle being around too many people.
"You're back." Owner Chao said solemnly.
Xue'er nodded and prepared to go up to her room. She had no idea how many days had passed while she was hovering in a semi-conscious state."
"There's about a month before your deposit ends, do you plan on staying after the new year is over?" Owner Chao asked.
Xue'er shook her head, she did not plan on staying here. The deposit was something that Gan Tian Chi put down to force her to stay among other people. She was not here willingly.
"I only came for the new year festival." She said with a large smile that puffed her cheeks making her seem like a cute child.
After she said that, she pondered for a while before she realized that even she would not believe her lie.
[What kind of person would show up a month early before the designated vacation spot?
Each day going out early in the morning only to return late at night.]
She sighed, and walked straight up the stairs, without caring whether he believed her or not.
Thinking about it, there were only about twenty days before the new year.
She should prepare for it.
Last time, she had also seen many children her age. They had all been dressed in red clothing, red shoes, red scarves, and red toys. Though the red was not the color of blood. It was a bright red, the color of red spider lilies, the same color as a bride on her wedding day.
Thinking about it, perhaps she should go to the embroidery shop and ask Huo momo if she could prepare some clothes for herself in preparation for the new year.
The room had not changed a single bit in her long absence, which means that this owner Chao was not a person who would snoop around other people's things.
Even if she went away for a long period of time, she could still count on her privacy being safe.
Xue'er silently closed the door, mindful of the disturbances she may cause, even if there was no one around.
She was sure that this quiet and peaceful inn would not always stay so quiet and peaceful.
The new year was quickly approaching, which meant that there was going to to be countless people coming and countless people leaving to see the most famous places during this new year.
On this night, that the clouds had gently folded over and over again in front of the moon, obscuring the view. There was only a soft glow coming from behind the blanket of gray, giving the town a soft luminous light. The rain continued to descend, covering the town in a perpetual fall of rain that pitter-pattered on the rooftops. It seemed that there would not be any stalls that would be open the next day.
Xue'er was in her room when she was disturbed by a sound, she lightly opened a window to peer outside, into the alleyway. With her head slightly leaning out to see the figures of two people below. Her curious eyes fixed on their figures as they glided by.
She could only see the tops of two plain white oil paper umbrellas with a bamboo frame that floated around. The sound of the rain pitter-pattered on the oil paper, completely gliding off and dripping onto the ground.
Though Xue'er could not see their faces under the brim of the umbrella, she could vaguely see that those footsteps were light, and accompanied by a certain skill, making sure that there was not a drop of water that landed on their bodies.
At this moment, Xue'er went through a revelation.
Why didn't she think of that?
Now that she thought about it, it must have been Gan Tian Chi who had such an influence on her, always doing tasks the normal way, that she did not realize there were ways for her to avoid the rain.
Yet there was a need for normalcy, or else it would be a strange feeling in this mundane world.
The two people stepped into the inn, shaking off the droplets of rain outside the inn before making their way inside.
Owner Chao was inside the kitchen, cooking when he heard the bell outside ringing for his presence. He arrived at the front, still wearing an apron, and slowly wiped off the droplets of water on his fingers, before he looked at the guest.
Immediately, he was alert the moment he saw the guests who had just entered. It was a young man and a young woman, in their teens. Both dressed in commoners' clothing, yet there was something dangerous about them.
Perhaps it was the gloomy thick aura that filled the inn once the arrived, or the fact that not a single droplet of water had stained their clothes or their plain cloth shoes despite the heavy rain outside.
The two people looked like a pair of cousins or friends. They were about the same age, not sharing many features, so much that they looked like complete strangers if not for the fact that they were traveling with each other.
"We'll stay here for a night." The young man said. He seemed to be talking to the young lady and owner Chao at the same time.
The young lady seemingly agreed with him and silently nodded.
He turned to owner Chao and said "Two rooms please." giving a silver tael. Indeed it did make sense, two people, male and female entering an inn at night and requesting two separate rooms out of respect for each other. No one would think anything of the matter.
Owner Chao did not say much, merely pointing upstairs, as though letting them choose on their own.
"You should rest." The young man said, his hand resting over the young woman's shoulder.
"En." The young woman nodded and pulled away.
They did not linger on the first floor much afterward, quickly making their way up the stairs in silent footsteps. Those shadows flashed across room one, in which Xue'er was currently residing, making their way to the last two rooms of the hall, room five and room six.
Their speed and uniform footsteps made Xue'er very interested in the two strange guests who arrived at the inn so late at night.