Chapter 45: Hidden Agenda (4)
Instead of entering Changfeng City, the trio arrived at Changfeng Cave to scout out the whereabouts of the ghost cultivator.
The majority of Changfeng Cave’s cultivators had followed Xiong Xiao to battle, and later were led by Xiong Xiao to Mount Shaotai. Supposedly, the Cave Masters of Mount Shaotai had yet to be confirmed for each respective cave, and so the men of Changfeng Cave would not be back for a while. At the moment, only one cultivator was left behind to stand guard and watch over the place.
According to others, it was said that Xiong Xiao had already been assigned as the Mountain Chieftain of Mount Shaotai, and the cultivator who remained behind for garrison duty was incredibly ecstatic. Cave Master had risen in rank, and to the old subordinates below him, even if they all weren’t able to follow suit and receive the same benefits, they would still be able to bask in the limelight.
After the group surrounding the table enjoyed a delicious meal, the cultivator who stayed behind at Changfeng Cave brought over a document sent forth by someone sent over from Changfeng City. It reported of another case of a travelling merchant mysteriously disappearing around the area of Mount Thousand Buddha.
Miao Yi was originally from Changfeng, so he was no stranger to the place called Mount Thousand Buddha. According to rumors, it was originally home to many buddhist temples. Later, Buddhism was then banned and many temples were brought to the ground.
In the past, he might not have known the reason, but after becoming a cultivator, Miao Yi knew that it was definitely related to the division of the Six Sages’ domains. Immortal Sage Mu Fanjun did not want to see his own realm have two different religions. If he was not treated with honour, would it still be considered his domain? Thus, it had to be eradicated.
Mo Shengtu closed the document and said, “It looks like that ghost cultivator may most likely be hidden within Mount Thousand Buddha.”
Miao Yi chuckled, “ Mount Thousand Buddha is huge. It won’t be easy to find someone, especially when we’re looking for a ghost. How are we going to search for him?”
The cultivator who remained behind replied, “It’s not too hard, the regular travelling merchants are so frightened that they don’t dare travel through Mount Thousand Buddha, and since the ghost cultivator needs to hunt humans for his blood meal, without anyone passing through for a long period of time, he’s bound to lose his endurance. The lot of you can disguise yourselves as regular travelling merchants and travel there back and forth. I bet there’s a high chance he’ll take the bait.”
“ Then it’s settled!” nodded Zhang Shu Cheng as he slapped the board, before making it clear to the cultivator on garrison-duty, “ We’ve been hurrying for the past couple of days, so we’ll be resting for the night here. Tonight, you help us get the disguises ready, we plan to take action tomorrow!”
In the middle of the night, the rustling insects cry…
Early next morning, the sun rose from the east, tainting the clouds with a red hue.
Four ordinary horses were prepared just outside of Changfeng Grand Hall. Among them one horse was not saddled. Instead, it carried a pile of bundled goods, large and small.
“What is this?”
Miao Yi saw the cultivator on garrison duty take something that looked like a woman’s makeup powder case and opened it up, before assisting Mo Shengtu and Zhang Shucheng to apply it between their brows, right on their spiritual points. He couldn’t help but ask what it was.
“ Soul Concealing Paste,” the cultivator replied nonchalantly.
“Oh,” replied Miao Yi. He heard Yan Xiu mention about this item before, but it was his first time seeing it.
If one wished to hide one’s cultivation base, all they had to do was apply this paste between the brows and it would then conceal the glowing lotus blooming from their spiritual point.
The three of them helped one another apply the paste between their brows. Depending on the shade of their skin colour, they varied the amount applied to maintain the same colour as their skin.
After preparations were done, the trio armed their weapons and mounted their horses.
After being accustomed to riding dragon steeds, to suddenly ride a horse that required steering with the usage of reins felt a bit unnatural.
However, there was no other choice. If they showed up riding the dragon steeds, people would instantly recognize them as cultivators—drawing the ghost cultivator out after that would be wishful thinking.
The cultivator took the reins of the horse bundled with goods, passed it to Zhang Shucheng, then folded his hands in salute to give his farewell.
What he did not know was that during this journey, Zhang Shucheng and Mo Shengtu were not only intending to take care of the ghost cultivator, but were also targeting Miao Yi as well. The task personally assigned by Xiong Xiao would be kept in utmost secrecy by Zhang Shucheng and Mo Shengtu. If this matter was spread around, Xiong Xiao would never let them off the hook.
The trio rode their horses out from Changfeng Cave and immediately set foot on the main route. After their horses started rushing headlong on their path, the three of them exchanged glances with one another, then shook their heads with a bitter laugh.
After being accustomed to riding dragon steeds, not only did it feel awkward to ride these horses, there was a more significant difference in speed. They felt as slow as snails, and couldn’t even match up to the speed of the three men using their legs to run, much less that of a dragon steed. One was entirely heavenly while the other was of the earth.
Unfortunately, it was a prop used for the opera, so it couldn’t be thrown away.
“At this rate, we’ll need at least six hours to make it to to Mount Thousand Buddha.” Mo Shengtu laughed bitterly.
Zhang Shucheng looked at the weather and said, “No need to hurry, during the daytime the Yang energy is too potent. Even though the ghost cultivator isn’t like ordinary spirits who are deathly afraid of sunlight, it still doesn’t like to show up in broad daylight. Arriving at night is likely to be more appropriate. Let’s take it slow, or else if we continue like this, the horses won’t be able to endure it.”
Mo Shengtu tilted his head to ask, “ Brother Miao, what do you think?”
“My thoughts?” Miao Yi chuckled, “I think having you two handle the ghost cultivator is enough. If I go, I’ll only be a burden to you both. Big Brother Mo, Big Brother Zhang, you guys already know that your little brother’s mount is fat like a pig, and riding a body of fat feels so comfortable. So, I’m really not used to riding such a lean horse. Not only that, I’m too honest. I can’t act as a merchant at all. It would be better if the two of you go instead. I will stay out of this exciting activity and go roaming around Changfeng City. Once the two of you eliminate the ghost cultivator, you can come find me at Changfeng City. How does that sound?”
He was seriously not joking around. As he spoke, he had already reined in his mount to a halt, looking as though he was going to turn back.
Mo Shengtu and Zhang Shucheng pretty much shouted in unison to stop him, and also reined in their mounts to a halt.
But once the words left their mouths, both of them were simultaneously taken aback. They cast a glance at each other, realizing that it was a little too excessively in sync.
Don’t tell me there is actually something amiss? Miao Yi’s eyes lit up in realization as he muttered discreetly in his heart.
He’d only been testing them, but who would’ve thought he’d actually find something fishy. However, he really could not think of any grudge that existed between him and Xiong Xiao.
Mo Shengtu quickly replied with a sincere and earnest tone, “Brother Miao, this matter was originally meant to complement your promotion in glory as a Cave Master. The Manor Head will keep his promise. The main focus is you. If you don’t go, and word about this gets out in future, others will assume that we cheated. Even if Brother does not think for himself, you need to help think of us, right? Unlike Brother, we did not find favour with Manor Head. Once Manor Head reprimands us, we really won’t be able to take the blame!”
“Haha, if you really can’t, then we’ll leave it at that. Pretend I didn’t say anything.” Miao Yi chuckled. He shrugged his shoulders, looking indifferent.
Anyway, as far as he was concerned, they could do as they saw fit. Even if they found the ghost cultivator, he wasn’t planning to take part in the fight. Letting these two guys fight for their lives was good enough. Once the deed was done, he would just take credit for it and return to be a Cave Master. If any other mishaps broke out, he’d feel too sorry for himself.
In any case, he was somewhat vigilant around Xiong Xiao. In other people’s perspective, Xiong Xiao was helping him, but if they were in his shoes, they’d be able to realize the truth after giving it some thought.
F*cking Xiong Xiao. Making daddy I, a White Lotus First Grade cultivator handle a White Lotus Third Grade ghost cultivator. You call this helping your daddy me? F*ck your grandma!
The three of them continued along the road, without rushing themselves. Throughout the journey, Mo Shengtu and Zhang Shucheng became more humble, continuously talking about interesting stories of the cultivation world to please Miao Yi. Mostly, they were afraid this guy would once again quit halfway if he became upset, turning back to head towards Changfeng City to roam around.
They even excused Miao Yi from the task of leading along the goods-carrying horse, which originally they’d planned to take turns doing.
Two White Lotus Third Grade cultivators must appease a White Lotus First Grade cultivator. This couldn’t be tolerated. Both men had an intense urge to kill this little sh*t with a strike of their spears.
But alas, Miao Yi wasn’t someone to be trifled with. This guy’s display of bravery and fierceness during the one versus five battle in Transient Light Cave wasn’t a boast. Even if they wanted to strike, they didn’t have the confidence to do so. If by chance this brat ran away, then matters would become very troublesome. They must find an opportune moment, this plan must end in success and not failure. Otherwise, Xiong Xiao would not forgive the two of them.