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Gu Yu became panic-stricken after being addressed as her "brother-in-law".

Turning his head involuntarily, he only saw a calm-faced Xiaozhai, whose feelings towards that term of address he could not tell. He immediately replied, "Don't call me that, 'brother' is totally fine. We've been looking everywhere for you. What was with those people anyway?"

"It's all that asshole's fault. He would not let go of my dear Manman, so I kicked the sh*t out of him…"

Xiaojin told them what she reckoned they should know and introduced Wang Manman to them.



'What the heck!' Judging from her description, Gu Yu had deemed Yang Guang a fiendish, spoiled youngster who couldn't care less about clearing his own mess. As the saying went, he who loved a girl also loved her sister; Gu Yu inevitably tried to lecture Xiaojin. "Do think before you act in the future. You are all still students. If things get out of hand next time, how are you going to get yourself out then?"

"Yeah, yeah, I heard you!" Greatly impressed by Gu Yu's rescuing hand, Xiaojin was even bothered to give him a response. She then added, "Brother, have you learnt Kung Fu before?"

"Sort of."

"Wow, how many men can you handle at a time, then?"

"It depends. There's no set standard in these things."

"Then, then do you know how to use a sword? And that thing you did with that twig, what was that move called?"

She was indeed very interested and would not stop bombarding Gu Yu with her questions. While Gu Yu was busy with his perfunctory attempts to satisfy her curiosity, Wang Manman suddenly interjected. "Jin Jin, the police are coming. What are we going to tell them?"

"Oh my gosh, I nearly forgot that!" Smacking her forehead, Xiaojin acted all responsible and said, "Let's wait here and tell them what happened. It should be fine. Sister, you guys go back first."

"Ok." Xiaozhai turned to leave, but only went a few steps away before turning her head around with a smile. "By the way, come to my place tonight."

"Sister...! My DEAR Sister!"

The girl's face was immediately crinkled with vexation. She went all puppy-eyed and put on a sorry face, which Xiaozhai ignored completely and left promptly, dragging Gu Yu behind her.

Xiaojin was still whining and groaning by the time they were out of sight. Wang Manman found her reaction rather strange. "Your big sister seemed nice. Why do you look like you've just stepped on a lego brick barefoot?"

"You have no idea! We were playmates when I was little and whenever I made a mistake, she would… eek!"

As if struck by something unthinkable, Xiaojin shuddered and stopped in mid-sentence. She silently lit a candle for herself in her head.

Spiritual essence in Jiang Zhao was slightly denser than in Shengtian—probably a one on a one-to-ten scale, making it just about enough for one to cultivate here.

Gu Yu spend the entire night meditating in his room and did not feel like sleeping at all the following morning. It had been a quiet night—that is, if he did not take into account the weird noise coming from the room next door all this time. It sounded like something between a laughter and a weeping and he could not tell if the person was being tickled or beaten. Anyway, it went on for quite some time.

Gu Yu had some faint idea that it should be some vicious (or indecent, if you like) measures the older sister used to "take care of" the younger one. [ED/N: The brackets part was in the raws]

Xiaozhai's sect was extremely mysterious. According to her, they had twelve Taoist skills and twenty-four ordinary ones, among which five ordinary skills survived. However, Gu Yu knew next to nothing about them apart from snake-controlling, wood-appraising, and that one move from the "Flapping of Green Sparrow".

She was not all that harmless as she might appear to be and Gu Yu found the idea of her trying her hands on her younger sister very plausible. [1]

The next morning, sunny weather.

Gu Yu finished getting ready and walked out of his room with the backpack over his shoulders. The door of the next room happened to open at the same time and out strolled a girl, who greeted him, "Morning, Brother!"

"Well, morning…"

He was slightly hesitant. The girl was none other than Xiaojin, but she looked like a different person from yesterday. With her long hair hanging loose on her shoulders and not a single trace of makeup on, the skin on her face looked smooth, bright and soft. The youth and sweetness emanating from her almost had a reckless feeling to it.

Especially her eyes, which were so bright and fierce.

"What are you looking at?" Noticing his confused face, Xiaojin couldn't help asking, but realized almost immediately. She pointed at her cheek and laughed. "That was a fake freckle look. I painted the little dots myself. It's very trendy now."

"Oh, I didn't know that." Coming to himself, Gu Yu could not hold back his comment. "You look much better now. That look yesterday was too 'shamate'." [2]

"Tsk! I'll choose whichever way I look. It's not like I'm doing it to please other people!"

The moment she raised her voice, that girl from yesterday reappeared and she became a little punk again.

Before long, Xiaozhai came out and the three of them went downstairs for breakfast.

They were going to visit Qionglong Mountain today. Gu Yu was concerned with taking Xiaojin along, yet Xiaozhai had no such misgivings. Since the two sisters seldom saw each other now, they might as well take the chance to hang out.

After breakfast, the three of them headed straight towards the western suburbs.

Qionglong Mountain only took up 12 square kilometers in its area and was not exceptionally tall either. It was thanks to its proximity to the city that the mountain got developed. It was more like a vast leisure and vacation park rather than a scenic spot, and was most frequently visited by the locals.

The mountain was filled with man-made tourist sites with names like Cultural Garden, Lakeview Garden, Reading Terrace, etc. A winding road was built around the mountain, leading for the mountaintop.

Xiaojin drove the vehicle halfway up the mountain and they walked from there on.

Halfway up the mountain was an imperial road, allegedly once traversed by some emperor. The road was flanked by quiet, beautiful surroundings where verdant bamboos grew in great numbers. When a fresh breeze blew gently, the bamboo leaves rustled softly in the wind. Without man-made noise, the empty mountain almost had a poetic feeling to it.

The three of them walked for fifteen minutes and reached the end of the imperial road. In front of them stood Shangzhen Temple, which looked magnificent, built in accordance with the hillside. The main buildings were arranged along the central axis from the east to the west and from the lowest to the tallest, all with a single eave and built with bricks and tiles.

Up across the front gate was a plaque with text written by certain emperor himself.

"..."

Gu Yu and Xiaozhai exchanged a look, both finding it a bit strange.

Quite a few tourists were climbing the mountain around them, but most passed the spot right away, paying no attention to the temple. A couple even curled their lips for some unknown reason.

"This Shangzhen Temple doesn't seem too popular around here," chuckled Xiaozhai.

"It sounds like they are speaking with a Jiang Zhou accent. They might know something," added Gu Yu.

With that, both darted a look at Xiaojin… well, never mind. It was no use asking her anyway.

Whatever answer they might get, since they were already here, they might as well look around.

Two adults walked up the stairs with the little brat. There were 77 steps in total. The first hall on their way up was the Three Mao Hall, where the Three True Lords of Mao were worshiped, which they found uninteresting and climbed on after a brief tour.

Next came the main hall of Shangzhen Temple, the Tower of Pure Trinity.

"Pfft!"

They bursted into laughter at the sight of the tower.

The Tower of Pure Trinity was a three-story building with as many as seven plaques hanging on it. The first floor was the Jade Emperor Hall, where the Jade Emperor was worshiped. The Hall of Auspicious Day was on the second floor and the shrines were for Doumu [TL/N: meaning "Mother of the Dipper"] and sixty Tai Sui.

According to the Taoist Scripture, sixty Tai Sui under the command of the Celestial Venerable of Doumu took turns to perform duty in the mortal world, taking charge of people's destiny and fortune. The one on duty was called General Tai Sui, who would became the guardian deity to all those born that year, hence the necessity to worship him.

The third floor was where the Three Pure Ones were enshrined.

Why were they laughing, you might wonder. Anyone with the slightest common sense would know that since the ancient times, the rule had been "one god (or, one lump of gods), one hall". The halls could only be arranged horizontally in a row or a plane, never on top of one another.

The order of the halls was represented by main hall and side halls, not floor numbers. The way Shangzhen had put it, 64 immortals were squeezed into one building with the Jade Emperor working as a doorman and sixty Tai Sui residing on top of him! [3]

"..."

Gu Yu and Xiaozhai went speechless after the laughter, finding local people's attitude somewhat understandable.

Just then, a woman appeared from behind the hall with a box of incense sticks in her hand. Seeing the three of them, she hopped near at once and grinned, "Is it your first time here? Go in and light some incense. It'll help with your career and keep you safe. Donate any amount as you see fit."

"What are you doing here?" Xiaojin asked.

"My hometown is in the countryside. My mother got ill last year and I came here to pray. A few days after I went back, my mother recovered. Ever since then, I would come here all the time. I bought these incense sticks and I'll give them to you for free. I wish for nothing but bring more worshipers for the immortals."

"Free? For real?" Xiaojin blinked.

"Absolutely! Here, take these!" The woman picked out three sticks and thrust them into her hand. She went on hard-selling, "Listen to me, my little girl. There's no need to go to the first and third floors. You only need to pray to your birth star; it's the most effective… you see, everyone has a birth star, that's the one guarding your…"

After finishing her line, the woman darted a look at the other two but decided she'd be better off leaving them alone. She soon walked away without further conversation.

Xiaojin would never fall for such scam herself, but only found her ruse so unoriginal that she wanted to make a fool out of these people. She was afraid that her sister and brother-in-law might not want to go through the trouble, but the two only said, "Let's go up there and have a look."

[1] TL/N: For those not familiar with anime terms, "腹黑", or "Haraguro" (meaning "black-hearted", or "black belly") describes characters that appear to be cute on the outside but are cruel/scheming/manipulative on the inside. Despite the negative connotation, it's not necessarily a derogatory term.

[2] TL/N: Shamate is a Chinese transliteration of the word "smart" and a Chinese subculture, whose followers look like twisted versions of a crossbreed between visual kei and goth subculture (and with very questionable taste). Here's an article about the shamate "fashion": https://www.buzzfeed.com/kevintang/meet-shamate-chinas-most-hated-subculture?utm_term=.ho0lDkdmR#.kmO1AEgv6

[3] ED/N: Jade Emperor is a sorta big boss of Chinese deities. Think Zeus, Odin, etc. He is one of the Pure Ones.

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