The old priest’s words led Gu Yu to think that Zeng Yuewei had been hurt in some way, causing him to release his aura in an instant.
Old Priest Mo was actually quite innocent, for he was indeed unaware of what was going on behind the scenes. Those hands that were supposed to be taking action were now rigid and stiffened, capable of nothing but sticking tightly to the sides of his body. His stooped shoulders were bending forward even further, as if all his flesh and bones were collapsing inward with creaking sounds.
Having devoted himself to arduous cultivation for seventy years, the inner Qi he had accumulated could still circulate with much difficulty. However, once it came into contact with the pressure wrapping around him, it vanished without a trace in the same way as a stream would disappear into the ocean.
Almost instinctively, that term came into his mind and he did not have the slightest doubt in his judgment. That was the level he had been pursuing for years without success!
The old priest was both surprised and terrified, for he was well aware of the difference in their strength. When he looked at Gu Yu again, he was completely overwhelmed by his terror and said in a panicking voice, "Layman… no, senior! Senior Gu! I really had no idea!
They gave me the incense, which I found unusual and speculated that it was likely made by someone from the cultivation community.
They were in charge of the secret investigation and I have never heard of this Zeng Yuewei you mentioned!"
"They?" Gu Yu paused but did not reduce the pressure imposed on the priest. "Tell me everything."
"Yes! Yes!" The old priest felt the pressure getting heavier, as if he would be crushed into a pulp at any moment. He added immediately, "A friend of Li Yan is a pilgrim of my temple and he was the one who came to me seeking my help. I heard him describe the symptoms of He Tian and Li Yang, got curious and followed him to Shengtian. I treated the two and told them to follow the lead. They probably had already fixed their target by then, which had led them to the incense pill."
"It was, it was the method you used…" the fellow had strained himself trying to withstand the pressure. By now he was soaked in sweat with a contorted face.
He figured things out in his mind and was somewhat alarmed at the same time. When he decided to damage their meridians with his inner Qi, he thought such tricks would be undetectable. However, that did not turn out to be the case.
He immediately pressed on. "Apart from this team of yours, who else is in Bai Town?"
"Both He Zun and Li Yan had come with us, but it seemed… it seemed they were going somewhere else. They said they would be waiting in some place."
Pondering it over in his head, Gu Yu knew exactly what to do next. He then waved his hand.
Instantly, the old priest felt the pressure disappear. His body relaxed and he collapsed into the chair. It was after quite some time that he managed to let out a long breath, feeling as if he had just escaped from death.
At first, his intention in coming here was to confirm, communicate or even engage in some form of a competition, which turned out to be nothing but a demonstration of his inferiority. His cultivation of seventy years was easily surpassed by a young man. As humiliating and frustrating as it was, when he finally come to terms with it and looked beyond it, he was overwhelmed by an incomparable excitement.
He thought he was never going to even have a glimpse of the innate state in his lifetime. Yet now, a living example was right in front of him. There was a world of difference between the acquired and innate states, in the same way as there was a world of difference between a child and an adult or a cherry-boy and an experienced seducer. That was an overpowering disparity at the most fundamental level.
Well, it somehow eased the embarrassment of his defeat.
It was a wake-up call for the old priest, altering his attitude completely. Putting his dignity aside and abandoning his condescending manner, he asked eagerly as soon as he came to himself, "Senior, if you would allow me to ask, have you reached the innate state?"
Gu Yu could not help laughing, finding the old man rather unbelievable. "Do you want to have another round?"
"No, no, I did not mean to offend you! It’s just that I’ve been pursuing Tao all my life and finally got a chance to meet a master. I would turn in my grave if I cannot get an answer," he actually meant that.
Gu Yu gave it some thought and replied, "I don’t know what your orthodoxy says, but from what I’ve been taught, there is no such thing as the difference between the acquired and the innate."
That raised a lot of questions for the old priest, but he knew very well that Gu Yu had already been kind to give him an answer at all. He went on, "Anyhow, in the cultivation world, whoever makes the achievement first is respectable. Senior has been a master living in seclusion and was disturbed for no reason. Please allow me to make it up for you."
"No need for that!"
Gu Yu was well aware of the meaning of such request. He found the shameless old priest a pain in the ass as he grabbed his phone and put it in his pocket. 'Actually, I think I should pay them a visit, in case something like this happens again in the future.'
At that, he picked up his keys and put on his shoes, ready to go out.
The old priest called after him and followed him in a haste.
Outside the courtyard.
The other five were pacing around in boredom. The old man had been in there for quite a while and they did not know what was going on, except for a few faint yells they heard from inside. Several times, the ill-tempered Wu Xiaoshan almost lost control and broke into the yard, but was stopped by Sun Baosheng each time.
Sun Baosheng had faith in the old priest’s capability. Besides, the boss had instructed them to follow Priest Mo’s orders. A little while later, they could finally hear someone moving inside. The door opened and the two came out together, which was quite unexpected.
"Brother Bao, what’s going on here?" Yu Tao asked in a whisper.
"He probably nailed it. Anyway, just keep your eyes open!"
The two walked near as they spoke and the old priest put on his sage-like appearance again. He laughed, "Sorry about the wait, do pardon me."
"Priest, he’s…" Sun Baosheng pointed at Gu Yu.
"Well, Mr. He wanted to meet this layman and the layman himself just happened to want to see Mr. He as well. We can all go together."
Sun Baosheng found the explanation somewhat bizarre, but still let Gu Yu climb into the vehicle. After all, his mission would thus be accomplished.
Meanwhile, in the Zeng manor.
Granny Zeng had been entertaining He Zun and Li Yan with small talk all this time. What appeared to be drinking tea while chit-chatting was actually a bunch of overt attacks mixed with covert tricks. The panic-stricken old lady felt as if she was sitting on needles and spikes.
She had more or less figured out what was going on--the target today was Xiao Gu alone and her granddaughter was only the foil here. Choosing her house as the venue was their way of sending a warning, as well as hinting that Zeng Yuewei was let off the hook.
They arrived here after 10 a.m. and appeared to be very relaxed at first. However, as time ticked by, they could not help but become agitated. Around noon time, there was finally some movement outside, followed by a clutter of footsteps.
He Zun calmed down slightly and smiled. "It seems our guest is here."
"I wonder what he looks like," added Li Yan.
The old lady did not know what to say and forced out a worried smile. As the footsteps approached, several people came in from the yard. Walking in the front was Old Priest Mo, who was followed by Sun Baosheng, Wu Xiaoshan and Yu Tao.
To the right of the old priest, about half a step behind him was a tall and slender young man.
As soon as Gu Yu made his appearance, two set of eyes immediately fixed upon him. Gu Yu was indeed a good-looking man. Both He Zun and Li Yan were instantly amazed, but their countenance only turned even more malicious after that.
Gu Yu greeted the old lady first, then turned to the other side with a smile. "I presume these two are Mr Li and Mr He?"
"Snort!" The calmness of Gu Yu had enraged He Zun, who commented coldly, "Very bold indeed!"
"Hehe, you two have come all this way for me. The least I could do is to show up in person."
He grabbed a chair and thumped into it, as careless and casual as he always was.
"Fine! At this stage, all I want to ask you is…" He Zun leaned forward and stared at Gu Yu closely as he squeezed out his question one word at a time. "Did you do this?"
"You’ve pretty much figured out the answer. Why bother asking me again?"
That was as good as a "yes". Their faces darkened at his response. They were almost sure that it was his doing, but hearing Gu Yu admit it himself sent their rage to a new height.
He Zun reacted to it more violently—he would tear Gu Yu into pieces with his own hands if he were given the chance. "A Tian has never done anything to you, how could you be so cruel?"