As the watery soup had almost dried up, Jing Jiu put on the conical hat, wrapped his face with a cloth, came down from the restaurant and entered a horse-drawn carriage.
This carriage was prepared by the Gu family.
The Gu family was a large clan in Nanhezhou, with many family members practicing Cultivation in the Green Mountains. Two elders from the clan were still practicing on Tianguang Peak and Shiyue Peak respectively.
As his disciple, Gu Qing had made the arrangement beforehand, so Jing Jiu didn’t have to worry about this kind of trivial thing himself.
Gu Qing’s status in the clan had gradually changed over the last year. No matter how you looked at it, the principal disciple on Shenmo Peak was quite promising. Though his status in the Green Mountains was not as prominent as Gu Han’s, no one could say what the future held, so the clan didn’t want to make any mistakes in this matter.
It was quite spacious inside the carriage, and luxuriously decorated. The Gu family must have spent a lot of time and energy to make the carriage look good and feel comfortable.
Jing Jiu didn’t know about this, but he was satisfied with the carriage.
There was a bed in the carriage, and a glass window on the roof, which could let in natural light.
He untied his iron sword wrapped in a cloth, lay down in the bed, and knocked a few times on the carriage panel.
There was a sound of horse hooves as the carriage headed toward the outskirts of Cloudy Town.
The clouds gathered from all sides, floating over the window.
Jing Jiu watched the scenery outside the window silently.
He didn’t go with the Green Mountain team. One reason was that he wanted to avoid being near the Peak Master of Qingrong, but there was another reason.
It was reported not long ago that the treasure light would suddenly shoot up on the Rogue Mountain located north of Nanhezhou, illuminating the night sky. It was considered an omen that a precious relic might resurface.
Some practitioners even claimed that there was a manor cave left by the immortals of the previous generation there, and it would soon be reopened by the changing climate.
This rumor would come back around every now and then in Chaotian Land, but it didn’t get attention from many sects. No disciple of those sects participating in the Plum Meeting went to the Rogue Mountain, and the Green Mountain Sect didn’t pay attention either, even when they were in Nanhezhou.
Jing Jiu of course knew this rumor was false.
As the rumored immortal of the previous generation was named Jing Yang.
Yet he planned to go there to have a look. As many disciples of smaller sects and traveling practitioners would go there, Jing Jiu wanted to check whether that guy would show up.
That guy had always liked a crowd.
The reason he and his Big Brother made this fake manor cave was that his Brother liked fooling around among the crowd.
The horse-drawn carriage stopped at the south side of Rogue Mountain at dusk.
Jing Jiu stepped down from the carriage with his sword on his back. He turned his head and caught a glimpse of the horse-drawn carriage.
The carriage really was comfortable, and wouldn’t make one feel sick after a long journey. The rhythmic bounce of the carriage could actually aid a sound sleep.
The road from the South Pine Pavilion to the Stream of Sword Washing was quite flat and smooth, so it should be easy for the carriage to ride on the road.
"Take the carriage to the South Pine Pavilion," he told the carriage driver.
The driver didn’t even dare to breathe, and nodded his head fervently.
Night fell and the mountain range became darker. Jing Jiu could see a flash of sword light once in a while. He judged from those sword lights that the practitioners who came seeking the treasures were not very high in their Cultivation states.
Walking along the mountain path, Jing Jiu arrived in front of a ruined temple late at night.
The distance from there to the manor cave was about seven miles, which happened to be outside the prohibition.
This prohibition was not a Formation, but was a traditional rule in the Cultivation circle of South Land. Jing Jiu had already learned about it from Gu Qing before he left the Green Mountain.
A practitioner interested in the treasures had to get inside the area seven miles from the manor cave before the manor cave was opened; otherwise, you were not qualified to share the treasures.
This rule apparently imitated those of the Green Mountain Sect, but it seemed ridiculous.
Jing Jiu entered the ruined temple.
There was a campfire in the temple.
A dozen practitioners sat around the fire.
The practitioners were not affected by the summer or winter weather, and their eyesight was far superior to the mortals, so they could walk at night without any light. Yet they had a campfire here.
Nobody liked being alone. The purpose of the campfire was to attract more practitioners. A bigger crowd would give them more courage.
The fire warmed their faces, and illuminating them, showing their uneasy expressions. Perhaps they were wondering if they should move forward one mile or two before the manor cave was opened at midnight. However, if they did so, other competitors would contend and even fight with them. If the manor cave was a fake, it would be unworthy of the effort and risk.
A dozen eyes fell on Jing Jiu.
He sat in a corner without paying any attention to them.
He didn’t need partners, as he had been accustomed to loneliness.
It was quiet in the ruined temple, with only the faint sound of flames blown by the wind.
After a long while, a deep, loud voice came from outside the temple, lightening up the depressing atmosphere.
"It’s impossible! It takes a vivid imagination for them to think of a second house of Immortal Jing Yang. This is Nanhezhou, the territory of the Green Mountain Sect. If it’s really the second house of Immortal Jing Yang, how could the Green Mountain Sect let anybody near it? Even the Center Sect would have to stay away from this place! The believers are a bunch of idiots."
Two monks walked into the ruined temple, one old and one young; the speaker was the young monk.
The dozen practitioners glared at the young monk.
The young monk was surprised when he saw their angry gazes. His carefree personality meant he hadn’t even noticed the fire or the people in the temple.
Were these the "bunch of idiots" he had been talking about?
When he realized his badmouthing had been overheard, the young monk felt truly embarrassed. He bowed over and over to apologize for his inappropriate remark.
The practitioners were angry; at the same time, there was little they could do, as the young monk had apologized sincerely enough. More importantly, both he and the old monk were carrying a worn-out wooden cupboard on their backs. They looked like ascetic practitioners with some powerful backgrounds, so they couldn’t afford to offend them.
They had heard that the achieved monks of the Fruit Formation Temple were good-tempered. They might be able to take their anger out on them and get away with it, but what meaningful effect could it have for them?
Nobody dared do anything, and they accepted the young monk’s apology. They stood up and greeted the old monk, offering the best spot by the fire for them.
The young monk suddenly saw Jing Jiu in the corner with the conical hat on. He hesitated at first as he was uncertain, but he eventually recognized Jing Jiu. "Ah!" the young monk yelled out.
"What happened this time?" the old monk asked impatiently.
"Oh, oh, oh…"
The young monk thought Jing Jiu intended to conceal his identity, so he couldn’t point to Jing Jiu. "Senior Master, you were right, and I was wrong," the young monk said to the old monk anxiously.
The young monk thought that since the Green Mountain Sect sent had Jing Jiu of Shenmo Peak here, the opening of the manor cave tonight had to be a special event, even if it wasn’t the second house of Immortal Jing Yang.
Jing Jiu had seen this young monk twice, but he didn’t know he talked so much. He was even more annoying than Liu Shisui.
He would have felt bothered in the past, but at that moment Jing Jiu felt closeness and intimacy, so he flashed a smile to the young monk.
The fire illuminated part of his face under the conical hat.
The young monk held his hands to his chest. It was rumored that Jing Jiu was handsome, and it turned out to be true.
"Big Brother Jing…no, Senior Master Jing…why are you here tonight? For the manor cave, too?"
His voice was very low, so other practitioners in the temple couldn’t hear their conversation.
Jing Jiu shook his head.
The young monk was about to say something.
The old monk walked over. "Shut your mouth," he commanded.
The young monk sighed and shut his mouth. This senior master of Green Mountain somehow always brought him bad luck. Every time he met Jing Jiu, he had to practice a vow of silence.
Having seen this, Jing Jiu considered taking his own vow of silence. Perhaps he could pass it on to Liu Shisui two years later.
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