116 - Hidden
The hotel in Tianyun City was right next to Kowloon station.
After the welcome dinner, An Tongchen dragged himself back with a tipsy feeling. Instead of going back to his room, he went up to the pavilion at the northeast corner and stared at the Nine Flying Dragons Apsara under the moonlight.
The northeast corner was far from the noisy streets of Tianyun City, leaving the pavilion in complete silence.
The bustling and thriving Tianyun City attracted all the attention of the disciples who had never been on such long trips. Since they did not need to involve themselves in entertainment, all of them wandered around the streets in groups.
Additionally, the citizens of Zhongzhou were more than happy to show the tourists what they had here.
After sitting in silence for a while, somebody broke the peace. "Admiring the moon as a way to pass this long, dark night. Elder An has good insight, I see."
An Tongchen looked over to see a man walk toward him with quick small steps under the moonlight.
The man was about the same age as An Tongchen. There was a smile plastered on his face and the Seven Star gown on him made him look elegant and somewhat mighty.
"Ah, it's you!" An Tongchen replied in a monotone. He remained seated, making it obvious that he had no intentions to greet the man.
"Of course it is me! I came to visit you in the middle of the night, are you touched?" The man grinned happily at An Tongchen. "Nine Jade Mountain indeed has nice resources! After ten years, not only did Gentleman An not age, you grew younger instead!"
"Cao Lucun, you're here to bullshit me, aren't you?" An Tongchen coldly stared at him.
"Of course not." Cao Lucun replied with all smiles as he fished out two bottles of wine. "I am here to share something interesting with you." He passed An Tongchen one bottle.
As soon as An Tongchen popped off the cork, the strong but sweet smell of Japanese apricot rushed up and filled his nose. "Japanese apricot wine? This interesting matter must be expensive."
Taoist Cao burst into laughter. "Can't I offer you some help on the name of your old friend?"
"Hmph, do you think I would buy your words?"
Even though that was what was being said, both of them gave each other a toast and drank the wine together.
Taoist Cao leaned against a pillar before he continued in a tone which made him seem like he was joking. "You know, as soon as y'all arrived yesterday, that Yin Hong sent a list of gifts to Emissary Xiahou."
"And then?" As if it were a known fact, An Tongchen replied calmly.
"And then, Emissary Xiahou treated Yin Hong to a meal today at Shangri-La Restaurant. "
An Tongchen nodded as he took a sip of the wine.
"Aren't you curious about the details?" Taoist Cao playfully wiggled his eyebrows.
An Tongchen patted the pockets on his waist and threw an ornament at Cao Lucun.
The Taoist grabbed the ornament and grinned back at him, clicking his tongue. "Aish, only Nine Jade Palace would throw this precious and rare Assimilation Realm beast bone ornament like that!"
"I only have one with me so I'll gladly take it back if you do not want it!" An Tongchen reached out with his hand as an action to take it back.
Taoist Cao immediately hugged the ornament. "How is it possible to get something back after it has landed in my hands? If it's possible, I'm not the Lucun Star Lord!" he laughed.
"Are you Lucun or a Pixiu?" 
Cao Lucun was so intrigued by the ornament that he didn't bother to argue with An Tongchen. "Xie Lianzhen, you know who he is right?"
An Tongchen nodded. "He came to the Nine Jade Palace nine years ago."
"Do you know any background information about him?"
"Grandson of the previous Alioth Star Lord. The guy who is supposed to take over the position got into an accident and the position was passed down to him. Among the Big Dipper Seven Star Lords, he has the lowest position in the hierarchy." An Tongchen answered in a monotone, as if he were reading Xie Lianzhen's background out of a textbook.
Taoist Cao sneered, "We, the Seventh Truths Platform, aren't that lousy. Senior Uncle Yan might not have that many disciples, but it's not that hard to get one of the fifth descendants to succeed to that Alioth Star Lord position. But that guy, he was only twelve when he assumed the position, and both his legs are even paralyzed! Do you believe that there's nobody playing tricks behind the scenes?"
An Tongchen kept quiet. Those were the internal matters of the Seventh Truths Platform, and he had no rights to make any comments or reply.
Taoist Cao did not need his reply anyway. Cao Lucun continued his rant. "To cut the long story short, he has somebody behind him. Somebody that nobody can stop. As long as that somebody holds power for a day, nobody can kick Xie Lianzhen out from the Alioth Star Lord position!"
An Tongchen eyes lit up upon hearing Cao Lucun's words. "What is their relationship?"
"The closest in the whole wide world!" Taoist Cao wiggled his eyebrows. "Not even the King of Zhongzhou could compare."
A relationship that's closer than a married couple? There's only one possibility in this whole world. An Tongchen was struck dumb after hearing such a secret that would probably take the world by shock.
"Even her son's legs are paralyzed and he can't practice martial arts. She used some secret medicine to let him cultivate. Yet this is still not all of it — she even got one of the positions of the Big Dipper Seven Star Lords for him!"
"What has that got to do with us then?" An Tongchen asked softly.
"Why not?" Taoist Cao smiled. " I'm a monk, but he isn't."
An Tongchen pondered for a while. "Who?" He probed after making sense of the whole thing.
Taoist Cao glanced at him. "I do not have the ability to know what Emissary Xiahou told others. You should ask yourself that."
An Tongchen tried to figure things out. "Yin Hong's part of the Zhou's, the Zhou's…….Zhou Miaoru's daughter is fifteen this year. If it is her, Emissary Xiahou may not value her……"
Suddenly, An Tongchen realized something.
Seeing his face darken, Cao Lucun smiled at him. "This information is definitely a good deal, right?"
Remembering what Liu Jizhen had entrusted him with before they left, An Tongchen was filled with anger. "She dares?!"
"Why not?" Cao Lucun replied tipsily. "If it's a deal, what can you do?"
Upon sensing An Tongchen's anger, Cao Lucun patted his shoulder. "Actually, there's no need to rush. There are a lot of people who are looking for Emissary Xiahou nowadays for power. That position makes a popular man!"
On the arena at the Hall of Immortals, the man looked at the girl in confusion. "So what this Miss means is that each party can take out one medicine, and the other party must make a copy of it?"
"Yes." Lu Mingshu nodded. "This way, recognizing and manufacturing can be tested at the same time. This is more convenient."
This way of competing had never been heard of before. The man kept glancing at the corner where the boss of the Hall of Immortals was sitting.
"This is a good idea!" The bunch of youngsters from the Heavenly Sea Pavilion whispered to each other. "This girl got something in her sleeves, eh?"
"Yeah. Without abilities, she wouldn't have come up with this idea."
"But with her age, can beat Pharmacologist Qin? Leaving experience aside, she's no match for him since he's the walking medicine!"
"Just watch." Senior Brother Qin replied. "She must have some ability if she dared to come up with that idea."
On the other hand, the man waited for both the boss and the pharmacologist's agreement before he continued with a bright smile plastered on his face. "Okay, this is it then! Let me give both parties some time to think about it, and which medicine to choose from. However, there's something that both should take note of. The medication shouldn't be too expensive or rare, as we would not have the ingredients for you to make it."
Pharmacologist Qin called a worker over and whispered a few words in his ears.
Lu Mingshu on the other hand just took out a China jar and handed it over to the man.
After a while, the man received the medicine from Pharmacologist Qin and he exchanged it for them.
"Both of you may check the product given to you now. If you have any queries, please raise it immediately."
Lu Mingshu opened a box to see a pill.
The same went for Pharmacologist Qin when he opened up the jar.
"Do any of you have any questions?"
Lu Mingshu shook her head while Pharmacologist Qin furrowed his eyebrows for a moment before he also shook his head.
"Then let the competition begin!"