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Chapter 49: 49. Talk To Rock

The previous day, Zhongli and Ryūhei had discussed this task. Zhongli wasn't 100% sure if this matter involved Azhdaha. So, he suggested following the person who made the request first. He wanted to see where this incident started. Ryūhei had no problem with that, as he couldn't claim that everything he said was the truth. So, he just followed Uncle Dai as he led them to a mining site.

On the way, Ryūhei looked at Kun Jun and felt that he was just an ordinary person. But there's something peculiar about him.

"Uncle Dai, may I ask, is your helper capable of tracking the missing people?" Out of curiosity, Ryūhei asked him. Then, Uncle Dai replied.

"Dunno. But he seems to be able to find clues by talking to rocks. Maybe from there, he can give us clues about missing people."

"Oh. That's quite something. But, is that possible?" Ryūhei glanced at Zhongli to find the answer. But it looked like he didn't want to open his mouth.

Uncle Dai laughed.

"Haha. I saw him on my way over to Liyue Harbor, poring over rocks and muttering to himself. He looked to be very familiar with them. I asked him a few questions out of curiosity about the ores. To my surprise, he knew more than me, an old mining foreman! In any case, he didn't have any pressing matters and agreed to help me. With his and your help, especially when Mr. Zhongli is around, I believe we can find those missing people."

"So, sir Kun Jun can talk to rocks? That's an amazing skill you have." Ryūhei looked at Kun Jun, who then chuckled.

"Hehe. It's not talking to rocks. But, I can identify any ores. It is incidentally the only skill I have worth talking about."

Meanwhile, when Zhongli heard that, it piqued his interest.

"So you're an appraiser, Mr. Kun Jun?"

But Kun Jun shook his head.

"To be honest with you, I've already forgotten what I'm in Liyue Harbor for."

"Haa? You forgot why you're in Liyue Harbor, but you're still able to identify ores?" Ryūhei couldn't believe it. Kun Jun wasn't that old. But how come his memory was so poor? It was as if he was inflicted by a lesser version of Erosion.

"Unfortunately, yes. Even I had no idea why I forgot a lot of things except the ores. Anyway, if it's rocks you need help with, I can most certainly lend a hand."

Then, Kun Jun took out a glossy gem from his pocket. He showed it to everyone, especially Ryūhei.

"What do you think about this gem?"

Ryūhei had no idea since something like that wasn't his expertise. So he turned to Zhongli, who then replied.

"It's no ordinary gem. A glossy exterior, with a fissure that could only have been left in the wake of a volcanic eruption. The fragile surface layer and black veining. My intuition tells me that there's high-quality crystal ore inside."

"Remarkable. No wonder Uncle Dai said that you're the most knowledgeable person in Liyue Harbor. This rock does indeed hail from the vicinity of a volcano. I came across it in a market and snapped it straight up. They had no inkling of the treasure that lay within."

Kun Jun kept explaining the gem, and Zhongli also confirmed that what he said was true. Eventually, the two got along pretty well, as if each of them met their kindred spirit.

— — — —

Around 2 pm, they arrived at the mining site. And the site was at the entrance to The Chasm. Even though the location is just outside The Chasm, there are still lots of minerals that can be mined.

Ryūhei looked in the direction of The Chasm. He heard that the place was forbidden to be mined for the time being. That was why a lot of Milelith guards maintained the order as they prevented the miners from going inside, especially the underground site. In fact, they didn't close it completely because The Chasm was the closest route to Sumeru.

Uncle Dai leads the others to a nearby mining cave. From there, he could see Lingju Pass to the northeast, the ruins that were once a stronghold established by Morax in the past, and everyone knew after Zhongli explained it on their way toward the mining cave.

At the scene of the incident where the missing miners and adventurers left their belongings, Uncle Dai, Kun Jun, and Zhongli began their investigation and looked for clues. In contrast, Ryūhei seemed to act by himself as he walked toward the ruins in the northeast. After two hours, a series of clues were clear as there was nothing ordinary about this disappearance. But, different from the others, Ryūhei naturally knew something out of the ordinary due to his sensitivity to negative energy.

"Mr. Zhongli, did you find any?" Ryūhei said while approaching Zhongli.

"No. How about your side?" Zhongli shook his head, then asked him back.

"I found a trace of negative energy. Even though it's as thin as a thread, I can see that it's leading to the ruins."

Hearing that, Zhongli pondered while muttering. "It leads there, huh?"

He turned to Ryūhei.

"Then, let's find everyone else."

As they walked together, they spotted Kun Jun rubbing a rock while muttering.

Ryūhei wanted to ask Kun Jun what he was doing, but his sense prevented him from doing so as he felt something unusual about Kun Jun.

"Mr. Zhongli, you are the lord of rocks. Can you talk to the rock like he does?"

Funnily, Zhongli chuckled at his question.

"If I can, I might as well deafen myself. You know why."

"Haha. True. Rocks are everywhere, and they're probably disturbing you all the time since their lord is willing to talk to them."

Both of them chatted for a while, then Kun Jun stood up and saw Zhongli and Ryūhei already behind him.

"Mr. Zhongli, little Ryūhei."

"What are you doing, Mr. Kun Jun? We saw you were talking to that stone for a while. Can you really communicate with it?" Ryūhei was quite curious. Hard to believe that there was someone who could talk to rock like him. Or perhaps he was born to appraise any rocks. If he didn't have any problem with his memories, perhaps Ryūhei would recruit him.

"Well." Kun Jun looked around for a moment. Then, he opened his mouth again, "I know you're good people and trustworthy. And I would appreciate it if you two could keep my ability a secret!"

"Well, I don't mind that." Ryūhei nodded. Even Ryūhei himself kept his trump card a secret from others which he could use in a pinch.

"To assure you. We can form a contract. Unless you allow it, we won't divulge your secret to others." Zhongli suggested. But Kun Jun waved his hand.

"Haha. No need. Even though forming a contract is good, you shouldn't have to go through too much trouble since I still have faith in you. Anyway, I just saw four men following someone out of the mine, and— it looked like a child."

"...?"

"Saw?"

Ryūhei didn't know what to say, while Zhongli seemed astonished by Kun Jun's statement.

"Oh! I don't mean "saw" in the traditional sense. I can— perceive the memories of ore. Hahaha. It's a little odd. I've never dared to tell anyone before. But, I feel that it is okay to tell you about my ability. I've always sensed that ore contains "memories." Sometimes it records events that occur in the surrounding area. And all I have to do is touch one and focus my attention, and the memories come to me."

Amazing would be underrated. Seeing how Zhongli seemed interested in it, Ryūhei believed that Kun Jun's ability was probably the first one that had appeared in Teyvat. Well, at least in the history recorded by Archons and humans.

Zhongli nodded. He then asked Kun Jun.

"Stone-seeing, huh? How fascinating. So, you can see the memories of any ores?"

"Not quite. Some ores have astounding memories. Others, like Iron Ore and White Iron Ore, aren't up to much. I preferably perceive the Cor Lapis and high concentration crystals since they have strong memories and record more events in greater detail." Kun Jun shook.

"A rare ability indeed. No wonder sir Dai thinks highly of you, Mr. Kun Jun."

"Haha. Thanks for the praise, Mr. Zhongli. Anyway, based on what I saw, I believe they followed this path."

When Zhongli and Ryūhei saw the direction of where Kun Jun pointed, both of them glanced at each other.


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