The Plum Meeting right now was the focus of all the people in Zhaoge City; but at the same time there was an under-current stirring, which was beyond the scope of the common folks.
The young practitioners participating in the Plum Meeting had shifted their attention somewhere else as well.
Countless articles of news were circulating among the alleys and houses of the city.
The important figures of various sects, the high-ranking officials in the imperial court, and prosperous business men were all searching for one man.
Some people wanted to know how long they could live; some were interested in knowing where their Yuanying was located; some were inclined to find out what special habits the Emperor had; and some would have liked to ascertain whether their only son was of their blood. Of course, some others intended to know certain more important issues, like whether the Immortal Jing Yang really failed to ascend.
Jing Jiu was uncertain about whether Zhao Layue was eager to see Tian Jingren to ask the last question, or if she wanted to know where Ying San was, or if she simply wanted to check out Luo Huainan.
This genius in Cultivation who was probably meeting Tian Jingren right now, was the top pick for winning the Cultivation tournament, and he was therefore Zhao Layue's strongest opponent.
Yet, Jing Jiu would take Zhao Layue to see Tian Jingren no matter what reason she had for seeing him.
At the Green Mountain Sect nowadays, Zhao Layue was the Sect Master of Shengmo, Jing Jiu was just a personal disciple of Jing Yang's; so, Zhao Layue should have been his big sister. Yet, Jing Jiu had always taken the role of Zhao Layue's master.
Zhao Layue had already been accustomed to and accepted his role as a master.
If the master had a request, the disciple would carry it out willingly.
And if the disciple had a request, the master would help as well.
Others didn't know where Tian Jingren was staying, and Jing Jiu didn't know where he was either; but he knew somebody who might have information about the whereabouts of Tian Jingren.
There was a bustling street located by the White-horse Lake in the eastern part of Zhaoge City.
In the western section of the street there was a medical house, with a begonia flower carved on its plaque, tended to by a doctor and his assistant. The medical house itself looked rather shabby.
Unexpectedly, this medical house was the highest-level branch for the Curtain Rollers, which was the biggest information collection organization in Chaotian Land.
Jing Jiu knew about this.
One could always find out some secrets if one lived long enough.
Moreover, his big brother liked to find out secrets back then, and to later tell Jing Jiu about those secrets as stories.
After entering the medical house and taking off his conical hat, Jing Jiu was about to say the code "Is the begonia flower still the same", when the doctor raised his right hand to stop him from saying so. Then, the doctor brought Jing Jiu and Zhao Layue into the inner room.
"This seems to be against the rules," Jing Jiu commented.
The doctor said with a bitter smile, "I know you are Jing Jiu by simply looking at your face."
The Curtain Rollers had guessed his identity last time, and they confirmed it later.
As a result, they had no need for the old code "Is the begonia flower still the same", which hadn't been used for a couple hundred years.
Jing Jiu didn't think too much into the hidden meaning of the matter. He thought it was a good thing to scratch the code, as it meant less trouble for him. "Where is Tian Jingren?" he asked directly.
Looking at Jing Jiu, the doctor said seriously, "This is a piece of high-level information."
"I gave you three pieces of information last time," said Jing Jiu.
The doctor said with a grin, "Two of them haven't been substantiated yet. And we are even for the one piece of info we owed you."
After some thoughts, Jing Jiu asked, "Now that you know who I am, can you guess who she is?"
Looking at the young woman beside Jing Jiu, the doctor's heart skipped a beat.
Since this young man was Jing Jiu, she must have been Zhao Layue.
The Curtain Rollers paid a great deal attention to this youngest peak master in the history of the Green Mountain Sect with the natural Dao quality. They had collected a great deal of information on her as well.
Accordingly, the doctor, as the high-ranking manager of the Curtain Rollers, should have recognized her immediately as she walked into the medical house with Jing Jiu.
The confusing part was that the collected information clearly pointed out Zhao Layue didn't care about the details when acting, and wasn't concerned about her appearance and make-up…
Then, what does this little yellow flower in her hair mean?
A moment later, the doctor came back to his senses and realized what Jing Jiu meant.
The last time he gave Jing Jiu information was because the Curtain Rollers owed Zhao Layue for leaking information and almost getting her killed. Since the person they owed came in person, how could she leave empty-handed?
"This information is very expensive. Please don't leak it."
The doctor told them the place where Tian Jingren stayed.
Tian Jingren had been staying in the Plum Garden since he came to Zhaoge City.
Jing Jiu and Zho Layue had just come from the Plum Garden.
Then this Plum Garden wasn't the Cold Platform where the Plum Meeting was taking place, but the old Plum Garden.
Zhao Layue didn't say anything in the medical house, and she didn't ask about the relationship between Jing Jiu and the Curtain Rollers.
She spoke only when they walked outside into the old and dilapidated street.
"Though I have lived in Zhaoge City since my infancy, I was preparing for Cultivation, so I seldom went out. This is my first time here."
Many years ago, the monsters of the Snowy Kingdom had invaded, and the imperial court had been interrupted, and the Emperor and the young leaders of the orthodox Cultivation sects formed an alliance at the Plum Garden. This was the origin of the Plum Meeting.
The current Plum Garden was the most spectacular building in Zhaoge City, but it wasn't the original spot where the alliance took place.
The actual Plum Garden was located at the end of this old and dilapidated street.
Zhao Layue had never been there, and few people still remembered this place.
In comparison to the bustling new Plum Garden, the focus of millions at the moment, this genuine Plum Garden looked more like a forgotten ruin.
Jing Jiu, with his conical hat on, looked in the direction of the place. He saw an old pavilion with some fallen branches on the ground, appearing desolate.
He had been in the key period of breaking state back when the Plum Meeting took place, so he couldn't participate in it. But even if he could have come, he wouldn't for some reason.
His big brother came. The previous Sect Master of the Center Sect came. And the previous Chief Master of the Fruit Formation Temple, who was the master of the Young Zen Master, came.
Back then Lian Sanyue was in the middle of killing evildoers and many others, so the Nunnery Master of the Water-Moon came instead.
The crisp sound and following arguments brought Jing Jiu back from his rare recollections.
The bustling crowd of people ahead were not visitors of the original Plum Garden, but for the roadside chess games on the other side of the street.
The roadside chess games attracted combative chess players and spectators who had nothing else to do.
In general, the roadside chess games tended to attract people who liked crowds, so the scene was always bustling.
The street was full of yelling and shouting, cheering and laughing, cursing and swearing, and the sounds of chess pieces clashing, and it was also rich with a mixture of stinking sweat and feet odors, combined with foul-smelling smoke.
Jing Jiu and Zho Layue passed these sounds and smells in the street, their expressions beneath their conical hats nonchalant.
As they almost arrived at the end of the street, and the warped trees in the original Plum Garden were plainly visible, Jing Jiu stopped short and looked in the direction of his right-hand side.
Zhao Layue was a bit startled. She followed his gaze and looked in that direction as well.
There was a roadside chess game, where a full game, rather than a remaining game, was being played.
The chess stall was crowded.
The people in the crowd displayed surprise and incredulousness in their expressions.
One person was standing opposite all the others.
That person had a tender face, with white teeth and red lips. He was clearly a youth, but his expression was extremely proud and wintry. Anybody would be disgusted by his overbearing attitude.
"You have lost. Get the hell out of here," he told the owner of the stall.
It seemed that he had wagered with the stall owner on who would leave the chess stall, rather than on gold and silver, when playing chess.
The crowd got angry and yelled after witnessing how pungently he behaved.
"You should show more politeness when speaking!"
"You are lucky to win the game. You shouldn't act so haughtily!"
"Yeah, play another game if you have the guts!"
The young man didn't pay any attention to these comments and walked directly to the next chess stall.
It was a remaining game at this chess stall.
After a brief observation, the young man reached out and moved a chess piece.
The crowd was still angry at the arrogant attitude of this young man, cursing nonstop.
The stall owner who lost the game wasn't convinced, yelling, "I won't leave. What can you do about it?"
Suddenly, the crowd became quiet, and the stall owner who had just lost shut his mouth.
Because they found that the owner of the remaining game had a terrible expression and was sweating like the rainfall.
"Get the hell out of here."
Having said that, the young man walked to the third chess stall.
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