Gu Yu winced a little at first at Lu Yuanqing's arrival, but saw through it right away—it could only be an arrangement of the government to invite someone from the monastery here. The only question was: was this man coming as a friend or a foe?
He called out right away, "Priest Lu, long time no see. I'll be coming down, wait just a moment."
"That's ok. I can go up to you!"
Lu Yuqing smiled and kicked the ground. He was then shooting up into the air. When he was a few meters up, he strode out with his left foot and reached the mountain wall in an instant as if he had been teleported. His right foot then kicked the mountain wall and he landed lightly on the platform left behind by the broken peak.
"Tsk, tsk. Am I seeing the long lost Cloud Step?" Gu Yu welcomed him with a surprised look.
Old Lu almost stumbled on his feet. The guy was finally able to show off a little and Gu Yu spoiled the moment with a single sentence. Lu Yuanqing cupped his hands. "Cloud Step is something concocted in fictions and not a real thing. It has been over ten months since we last met on Changbai Mountain. How have you been?"
"Thank you for asking. I'm doing all right."
The two exchanged the necessary pleasantries, knowing perfectly well how the other one "had been".
Lu Yuanqing's movement just then was natural and smooth, without the slightest stagnation, which was clearly a demonstration of his improvement in cultivation. Gu Yu could see that his bearing and posture were graceful and poised, and that he had recovered his original simplicity. The man had improved so much comparing to the beginning of the year.
He then recalled Shi Yunlai's refined instrument and those two priests' conversation on "spiritual animals". It was not hard to guess from there that the monastery had also discovered some relic of ancient masters.
And that was exactly what had happened. Since they unearthed the White Crane Underground Palace, the monastery had been working constantly on it. By now, they had finished clearing out the first floor, and the result was fruitful. Among their discoveries were some low-level Taoist skills, talisman manuals, and refined instruments, as well as recipes of simple Dan medicine, which greatly enhanced the foundation of the monastery.
Take the Dan pills as an example. They had obtained the recipe of a "Qi-nourishing Dan", which was not as remarkable as the Body-refining and Mind-enhancing Dan, but still did a good job in facilitating cultivators reaching the perfection of their acquired state but not yet into the innate state.
With Zhang Shouyang on Tianzhu Mountain, Celestial Master Temple had no reason to refuse the request of the monastery to use the Six One divine furnace. Lu Yuanqing was able to achieve this improvement in his cultivation from taking the Qi-nourishing Dan.
Backed by the government with its endless resources, the monastery had all the advantages on its side. They might have started slow, but in the long term, they were going to soar. Gu Yu was fully aware of that, which excited him profusely… Sigh, it was lonely to be the only one high up there—no one could understand that unless they were up there as well.
After exchanging a thousand implicit blows with their words, Gu Yu finally asked, "You got here quickly enough. May I ask why?"
"Relics are coming out. I'm not going to miss that."
Lu Yuanqing shifted his eyes and asked, "So, that's the sword from the pool? May I?"
Gu Yu tossed it over casually and Old Lu caught it. After examining it closely, he gave it back to Gu Yu. "That's indeed a nice sword! I heard there are treasures in the other two pools as well?"
"Yes. Since Youxian Sect wanted to spread their knowledge as wide as possible, it would be rude to refuse them. I'm going to open up another one."
"Let me help you with that."
Blinking, Gu Yu saw that the man had made a friendly gesture. He grinned. "In that case, thanks a lot."
With those words, Lu Yuanqing cupped his again and jumped off the platform. Gu Yu put the thought aside and closed his eyes in meditation.
The night passed peacefully. It was the following day.
Under Fish Mountain, a makeshift camp seemed to have erupted overnight. The security and logistic teams all rushed here, setting up perimeters miles away from the mountain. That small village nearby was also evacuated.
Now that the mountain was rich in spiritual essence, birds and beasts were flooding in. The white jade bird was a shrew one, for it only flew back when it was absolutely sure of its safety. Right now, it was twittering around its temporary master.
Gu Yu was playing with the little bird when a smile crept up his face. He hurried to the temple gate.
"Squeak!" The broken wood board was pushed open and two women walked in. His girlfriend and sister had arrived.
Throwing out his arms, he was ready for a passionate hug, but only got a cold shoulder in return. Xiaozhai gave him a "you dumba*s" look and Long Qiu also kept her face as passionless as a single person usually did under such occasion.
The awkwardness was intense enough to singe the air. Luckily, Gu Yu did not blush easily. He grinned. "I thought you wouldn't be here until noontime. That was fast… oh, this is my bird."
"Your bird?" Xiaozhai darted a look at the silly bird and sneered, " That's not how I remembered it 1 !"
After that, she walked around her boyfriend to the edge of the cave and looked down to examine it. Gu Yu was a little dumbstruck. He tugged at Long Qiu and asked in a low voice, "What's going on? Why is your sister like this?"
"Sister said you were opinionated, impetuous, and didn't use your brain. You only remembered us when you couldn't handle it on your own. You're not getting any smile from us!"
Long Qiu quoted Xiaozhai word for word, expressing her deep sympathy (actually, she was glowing with pleasure at Gu Yu's misery).
Ok, his girl was speaking the truth and he had no excuse for his behavior.
Over on the other side, Xiaozhai checked the cave, greeted Lu Yuanqing and Bai Yunsheng, and frowned, for she was sensing an uncomfortable stare.
Turning around, she saw You Le stood there with a slacking jaw: wow, these two women are gorgeous!
What the hell?
She was baffled. How did such a character manage to survive three chapters in a place like this?
"Miss Jiang, Miss Long, thank you for coming all this way. Do you need some rest?" Just then, the two heads of the BIMAUP went up to them.
"That won't be necessary. We'll start right away. So, how does it work?" She turned to her boyfriend.
"Well, they pretty much come out and go wherever they want, and they're extremely fast. I'll go down first to lure them out. You all stay up here, and if possible, each take one target. We'll catch as many as we can," said Gu Yu.
"Gotcha!" said Xiaozhai.
"Yes, I see." Long Qiu nodded.
"I'll do whatever I can," replied Lu Yuanqing.
That was it! The immortals talked in their own language and the men from the BIMAUP could only smile wryly and moved back to watch.
"We're all set, then. Get ready while I fish for the golden toad!"
After that, Gu Yu flashed out of sight and pelted into the cave in a cloud of mist. Ten meters… twenty… thirty…
The image of the golden toad made its appearance again, shaking heaven and earth and dimming the sun and the moon. Having succeeded once, he held on to that window of clarity in his mind regardless of the world falling apart around him. Let everything go to waste, but he would remain unaffected.
It seemed forever when the vision disappeared and he regained consciousness. He realized that he was falling again.
Of the three pools, the middle one was emptied. Which should he choose between the left and the right one? It was a tough choice, for he was only going to empty one more. It would be such a pity if he ended up choosing a lousy one.
Gu Yu slowed down his falling, and after much thought, he decided he should stop thinking. 'If I chose well, then I chose well; if not, that would be how fate wanted it.' He had made up his mind.
Controlling the mist, he drifted towards the one on the left—you, then!
Seeing this, those up on the ground began to work their own magic.
Xiaozhai turned over her palm, revealing a purple-black arc of lightning, which was forever changing its shape. Long Qiu summoned Golden Silkworm, which took its chubby kid form and looked down with its blinking dark eyes.
She could do the Shadow-switching Technique, but not as expertly as her brother. She decided not to try her luck in such a critical moment.
Lu Yuanqing darted a look at Xiaozhai's Water Thunder and quietly took out a bronze mirror from his chest pocket. It was about twice the size of an adult palm and had a primitive simplicity in its style. The back was carved with cloud patterns and the front was of a muted golden color. The mirror face looked misty.
It was the Soul-calming Mirror from the White Crane Underground Palace, which he had just refined. It could calm the spirit and soul of all living creatures.
As for Gu Yu, after breaking through the multiple layers of obstruction, he approached the pool tentatively. He paused first, then the mist drifted down and lightly touched the water.
It was indeed just like last time. The pool also began to stir violently with whirlpools, emanating an imposing energy in the process, which was much more intimidating than the previous one.
Gu Yu's heart lurched. He dared not take it lightly and kept his eyes on the water.
A few moments later, the whirlpools stopped abruptly and something exploded in the pool, splashing freezing water everywhere. Four lumps of divine light whooshed out of the spray at a much higher speed, then shot into the sky.
Even Gu Yu, who had come prepared, was only in time to wrap his mist around one.
Xiaozhai's Water Thunder spread out into a big web and covered the opening of the cave as best as she could. Two lumps of light were stopped before the thunder web wrapped tightly around them. The divine light would not surrender, though. They were struggling violently, trying to break out.
Long Qiu pointed with her finger and the chubby kid shot into the air towards a lump of divine light.
It reached out with its fair baby arms to catch the light. However, as soon as it held onto the light, there was a sizzling sound and black smoke surged. Golden Silkworm felt a sharp pain all the way down to its mind and had to let go.
The light changed direction and dashed at You Yu.
You Yu stood there dazed, unable to move. You Le charged at him frantically and shoved his younger brother aside. "It's mine! Mine! My tre— Aaaaah!"
Bang! The divine light punched through his chest and flew into the clouds, soon nowhere to be found.
Long Qiu was vexed, angry, and abashed. She had made a mistake, which cost them a life. Before she had time to reprimand Golden Silkworm, her sister shouted.
The power of the treasure this time greatly exceeded the previous one and Xiaozhai was stretching out her limit by pinning down two. After a moment of struggle, one of the two finally struggled free.
The light flew into the air and was about to flee when there came a clear command.
With that voice, a golden beam shot out and landed right on that lump of light, which stopped moving right away. Lu Yuanqing's face looked a little contorted and his hand holding the mirror was also shaking slightly, apparently having a difficult time controlling it as well.
The stalemate lasted only for a moment before the light was about to break free again.
"Senior Brother, I'm coming!"
Bai Yunsheng drew out his sword and joined the fight. His long sword slid swiftly through the air, weaving a net with its movements. The divine light sensed the energy of the sword and stopped trying to leave. Instead, it began to fly around in a controlled manner, as if it was exchanging blows with the sword.
"Bring it on!"
Despite being only a man of an acquired state, Bai Yunsheng was not intimidated at all. His sword danced around in an unbroken series of movements, charging at the light like tidal waves.
After a few rounds, the divine light suddenly paused in mid-air and swelled up. Immediately after that, the lump of light several times bigger dived down and wrapped around the tip of the sword.
The ancient sword that had been passed down for centuries was no match to the light. Little by little, it was devoured.
Bai Yunsheng felt his heart was bleeding and his eyes were open so wide that they might burst. The divine light did not stop after that, but was heading right for him. He shut his eyes, thinking he would end up like You Le. However, the next second, his mind went dark and he lost consciousness.
Xiaozhai was enraged over on the other side and golden lightning appeared in her palm. After a violent lightning strike, the divine light finally quieted down. It was now in her hand like a glowing ball. Before long, Gu Yu also came up with another glowing ball in his hand. He sighed at the scene.
There were four in total. One got away and they managed to tame three. However, in a matter of minutes, You Le was dead and Bai Yunsheng had passed out on the ground...TL/N: again, "bird" is the "nickname" for the male member.