All parties went their separate ways after the Fish Mountain business was over.
Lu Yuanqing took Bai Yunsheng back to the monastery, while the BIMAUP listed Fish Mountain as the newest restricted area. Men were delegated to set up barriers around the mountain, as well as to make discreet inquiries among the general public.
After all, six ancient swords and a Sword Seed were scattered across the country; they wouldn't be at ease until every single piece was retrieved.
As for Xiaozhai, after settling the business for her helpless man, she was in no hurry to go back to Phoenix Mountain. Since she had travelled all the way here, she might as well have a look around.
One could choose one out of the three routes on leaving Fish Mountain: a northern one to western Guizhou, a middle one to Forest City—the provincial capital, and a southern one to Anshun which was their pick, because they wanted to see the renowned Huangguoshu Waterfalls.
Well, don't get it wrong. They were not going there for recreational purposes. Huangguoshu had fallen victim to a calamity a short while ago and was no longer the favorite tourist destination it used to be.
"'Water centipedes': the larvae of the predaceous diving beetles, are between 8 to 10 cm in length, have a cylinder-shaped body and plier-shaped big jaws. They are violent, voracious, and have the habit to strangle their prey between the big jaws before feeding on the body fluids. Under no circumstances should one try to approach them."
"Water skippers: 5-7 cm in length, blackish brown, used to feed on dead fish or insects, but have developed a liking for human body fluids after mutation. They are extremely fast creatures moving on the surface of water and have excellent jumping ability. Stay away as far as possible if spotted!"
Long Qiu put down her phone, finding what she saw repulsive. As if that was not enough to express her contempt, she even waved her pretty hand over the image. "Guizhou Province has so many mutated creatures. Poor residents..."
"Aren't you a witch specialized in undead insects? And you can't stand those?" Leaning on the windowsill, Gu Yu expressed his bafflement at Xiao Qiu's reaction.
"Those are water bugs. They're nothing like the undead insects—they are adorable," explained Long Qiu in a serious tone.
He grimaced, finding it impossible to link that word to things like snakes, centipedes, scorpions, ricefield eels…
"You can't eliminate small creatures with modern weapons as is the case with the large ones. They can simply hide in the water or some damp caves and no one will find them. The waterfall is done for."
Xiaozhai found that a pity and sighed. "Why, I was thinking about showing you around there."
"That's ok. I'll go anywhere as long as I'm with you two… teehee!"
Long Qiu sat on the bed cross-legged and wearing no socks. She unconsciously held her feet in her hands and began to rock back and forth like a roly-poly. She was grinning for no reason.
"What are you beaming at, you little dummy?"
Xiaozhai found her cute as a button and gave her a poke. Xiao Qiu lost her balance and slumped onto the bed, still holding her feet.
She let out a silly little cry and bolted back to her sitting position, then began to giggle, leaning on her sister's shoulder.
Tsk… Gu Yu was secretly shaking his head. 'Why do I feel like the third wheel here?'
He had to take out his big gourd and then the Sword Seed to force the pinkness out of the atmosphere. "I've been thinking all the way here and got something. The seed works as a special mental space for teaching and sword-storing. I can extract some preliminary information from it now, but the actual sword manuals—or sword scriptures—can only be accessed after I fuse with this seed."
"Is that so? Be more specific," said Xiaozhai.
"Sword Seeds were transformed from the energy of certain swords, so naturally they come with the understanding and impression of those ancient masters. By fusing with a Sword Seed, you become the disciple of its maker. The general principle of Sword Immortals is to cultivate the energy of swords, but there are many ways to do it. The Youxian Sect alone had as many as seven sword scriptures. Sword Seeds will actively try to integrate with extremely talented people with a natural inclination towards practicing swords, such as Bai Yunsheng. Of course, there is another way to integrate with the seed, which is to suppress and force it into your body."
He paused a little and went on, "I don't think I'll have a problem with fusing with it, nor will Xiao Qiu. I'll give you a hand if things do not work out smoothly.
"The seven sword scriptures and seven ancient swords should form seven corresponding pairs, but there are only four Sword Seeds now, which means three of the scriptures were lost."
Xiaozhai frowned slightly. "Your sword is fire-attributed. What if this sword scripture doesn't go with it?"
"Then I'll have to find a suitable sword... or make one." Gu Yu found that a little problematic as well.
"Then, then, then…"
Long Qiu hopped a little and stammered, but went quiet before she could form a sentence. She was going to say that her brother could have her Sword Seed, which would increase the probability, but then realized it would not work. Each one could only fuse with one seed and they would not know what sword manual they had before fusing with it.
That was the downside of losing the inheritance. It was obvious that the Youxian Sect used to pass down the Sword Seeds first before making the right sword, but Gu Yu received the sword first in this case, which made the whole thing a little awkward.
"Cheer up. Don't worry yourselves with the possible gains or losses. Let's go see the waterfall first, then we fuse with the seeds—whatever they might give us!" After those words, Gu Yu checked the time and made a little cough. "Ahem… um, it's getting late. Let's all take some rest. We still have Huangguoshu Waterfall to go to tomorrow."
Long Qiu watched the clock curiously, where the hour and minute hands still formed a right angle. However, it dawned on her the next second and she hopped out of the bed like a lamb. "That's right, I'm very sleepy as well. Off to bed! Good night, brother and sister!"
With that, she scuffed to her room next door.
Gu Yu was most pleased! 'I haven't been the nicest brother these days for nothing!'
He locked the door happily and turned around with open arms, grinning. "There! The problem was solved and I was taught the lesson. Let's snuggle!"
"Old Gu, I'm finding you a little, a little…"
Xiaozhai moved her finger around and came up with a suitable expression. "Cheesy!"
"Why, are you surprised? We've been parted for a month! Haven't you heard about 'reunion after a brief parting is as sweet as a honeymoon'?" he said in a matter-of-fact tone.
"You need a reunion after a month only? Then how about when a hundred years—or later, a thousand years—is but a snap of fingers for us? How much time do you then think we need a reunion? Are you suggesting we'll just sleep in our cold beds in between?"
Gu Yu could read that tone—he had said the wrong words. He said immediately, "My bad. I take back what I said… It has nothing to do with reunion. I missed you, that's all."
Xiaozhai gave him a sideway glance and gestured with her chin. "Take care of your bird first."
Gu Yu was at a loss, then he heard the chirpings behind him. Turning around in embarrassment, he saw that the white jade bird was playing the peeping Tom with undisguised excitement.
"Out, out. Don't come back before tomorrow morning."
He opened the window and threw the bird out. There was no need to hurry now. He offered, "How about taking a shower first? I'll get the water ready for you."
He made his way into the bathroom and turned the water on. Water splashed out of the shower head in a color darker than usual. He did not think much of it, but ten seconds passed and the water only became more muddy, until it was almost black.
There was also a tittering sound, as if something was squeezing out of the nozzle. A moment late, there was a thud and something landed on the floor.
Gu Yu jumped at the newcomer. A few little dark-red worms just spurted out of the shower head and smashed onto the bathroom floor, still squirming around.
"Why, that's new. Did you get the worms to refresh the repertoire?"
Xiaozhai leaned on the door holding her arms, giving him the "you poor little fool" look again.
"This place has some major hygienic problems! I don't think we should use the shower!"
Gu Yu couldn't find anything else to say. Activating the Small Moving Technique in a hurry, he flushed the dirty water and worms down the toilet.
Anshun was located in the dividing crest of Wujiang River and Beipan River basins. The area was abundant in rivers and water resources, hence the existence of Huangguoshu Waterfall. Now that the waterfall was taken over by the insects, it was only normal that a few would fly out of a shower head in a hotel.
Gu Yu had lost all his appetite after that episode. Scuffing out of the bathroom, he said in a crest-fallen voice, "All right, time to go to bed."
Xiaozhai, on the other hand, was in a great mood after teasing her man. She also activated the Small Moving Technique and woosh! Someone's underpants lay flat on the floor. She then crooked her finger. "Shall we dance?"