Chapter 49: Mystic Arts Temple (4)
Seeing the situation was about to get out of hand, Zhang Shucheng abruptly shouted, “Stop!”
Speedily making his way to the center of the two in order to smooth things over, he quickly pushed Mo Shengtu away from the Lady Boss. At the same time, he reached out to press down the speartip in Miao Yi’s hand. “We’re all on the same side, don’t let something trivial jeopardize our mission.”
Turning back to the Lady Boss, he jovially said, “Lady Boss please calm yourself. We mean no harm. We just wish to borrow your cookware so that we may brew some tea.”
Lady Boss said indifferently, "Armed escort, you need not trouble yourself to personally do it. Cook, quickly go make some hot tea for them.”
“Aye!” the cook responded, when suddenly Zhang Shucheng reached out his hand to stop him, “Just now my brother has erred, and we have yet to make amends, it would be imprudent for us to trouble you,” he spoke, as he gave Mo Shengtu a shove, “Hurry and fetch some water.”
Mo Shengtu held back the gloom on his face, and with a cold glint in his eyes, he grudgingly picked up the bucket from the ground, then strode out the temple into the storm.
Zhang Shucheng then grabbed a pot, subsequently grabbing Miao Yi with him as he went back, and then placed the pot on top of the fire.
Lady Boss had noticed the suspicious look in Mo Shengtu’s eyes, and being someone used to the ways of the world, she didn’t appear to be bothered by what just happened. She gave that enchanting waist of hers a stretch, and cheerfully told her subordinates, “Everyone quickly pack up and get some rest! We must make our way with haste tomorrow morning.”
While she said this, she made a quick glance to the cook and her eyebrows twitched for a bit. The cook then winked in understanding.
The few of them obeyed, and immediately started to pack up, whereas the cook took off the soaked clothes he was wearing from when he went out to wash the bowls, and made his way to the back of the hall to dry it.
Lady Boss gave her soft waist another stretch and laid down on the chair bed, the view was so seductive, that even Zhang Shucheng could not keep himself from staring, yet sadly the confucian scholar immediately tied the pink muslin tent back up, shrouding that enticing figure, but also made it all the more suggestive.
Outside the temple under the pouring rain, at the side of the decrepit well between two ancient pagoda trees, Mo Shengtu filled up the bucket with water. After careful eyeing his surroundings, he hastily took out a small porcelain bottle from his sleeve and opened it, then poured a white powdery substance into the bucket. After tucking back the bottle, he popped a red pill into his mouth, then hurriedly carried the bucket of water back inside.
And on the roof of the temple, the cook, unknown from when he had braved the rain to stand there, had been watching Mo Shengtu’s actions all along, and swiftly departed thereafter.
Coming back inside the temple, Mo Shengtu poured the water he collected into the metal pot. The bottom of the metal pot was starting to redden under the heat, and the cold water made popping sounds as it was poured in.
The cook had also returned inside. As he picked up the bowls off the ground, he pinched some of the nearby smoldering ash. With his back facing Miao Yi and the rest, he turned and made his way to the chair bed and then mimicked Mo Shengtu’s previous actions outside, sprinkling the ashes in his hand into the bowl.
The rest of them inadvertently glanced towards the chair bed, and Lady Boss, who was inside the muslin tent, simply twisted her body with nonchalance, seemingly giving a casual wave.
The others understood what she meant, and continued cleaning up.
Outside the temple, under the beating of the wind and rain, the old pagoda trees in the courtyard howled incessantly.
It was silent inside the temple, as the giant Buddha statue seated on top of its lotus platform shone and darkened with the flickering light of the flame. To the side, the worn-down Arhats and Buddha, both big and small, formed all sorts of peculiar beings, their shapes creating shadows on the wall that were sometimes long and sometimes short, sometimes thin and sometimes robust; much like a constant illusion of demons, devils, ghosts and monsters shifting uninterrupted.
The boiling sound of water echoed from the metal pot atop the fireplace, Mo Shengtu took out a can from his luggage, opened it and took out a few tea leaves, then spread it into the iron pot.
Zhang Shucheng also took this opportunity to stealthily place a red pill into his mouth.
Not long after, the fragrant smell of tea wafted from the metal pot. Zhang Shucheng put out the fire underneath, leaving just a small flame to keep the pot warm, and scooped up three bowls of hot tea.
Just at this moment, both the cook and the confucian scholar came over, each with a bowl in their hands, the confucian scholar bowed and asked with a smile, “May we have a cup of hot tea?”
Zhang Shucheng and Mo Shengtu looked at each other, the former chuckled as he reached out for the teapot, “No need to stand on ceremony, help yourselves!”
“Thank you!” the two said in response.
The cook was coincidentally standing in front of Miao Yi as he poured himself some tea.
Miao Yi glanced at his back in shock—on the back of the cook’s still wet clothes, was a message written with charcoal. There were only five words: “There’s something inside the tea!”
Miao Yi furrowed his brows, and glanced at the tea pot on top of the fireplace. He took up his silver spear at the side, and lifted up the hem of his clothes to brush the tip of the spear, seemingly with great force.
After filling their bowls, the cook and the confucian scholar gave thanks for the tea, then turned around and made their way back. The confucian scholar just so happened to block the back of the cook from being seen.
As though the tea in their hands was scorching hot, the two hurriedly ran back, and when they had just reached the side of their own fireplace, the two accidentally bumped into each other.
Pala! The two porcelain bowls filled with hot tea slipped from their hands and shattered on the ground.
The two whose hands slipped looked at each other—Miao Yi also threw a short glance as he continued brushing the tip of his spear.
To the side Zhang Shucheng just smiled and said, “There is still half a pot’s worth of tea. The three of us won’t be able to finish it, so if you wish to drink, just come and take it. No need to be polite.”
After which, he placed two bowls filled with tea into Mo Shengtu’s hands, and then gave him a light push, “You were in the wrong just now, hurry and apologize to Brother Miao.”
Mo Shengtu, understanding what he was implying. He took the tea into his hands, walked towards Miao Yi, and made an expression full of sincerity as he said, “Brother Miao, my infatuation got the better of me just now and I hope you will forgive me for my misconduct. After drinking this bowl of tea, what say we forget about this!”
Miao Yi was still brushing his spear, but then clutched the weapon and stood up, looking at him silently.
“It was my fault just now,” Mo Shengtu said sincerely, the bowl in his hand presented to Miao Yi once more, prompting him to accept. It really did seem as though he was sincere about apologizing.
Miao Yi did not accept—looking at Zhang Shucheng, he asked, “I was also in the wrong just now. Brother Mo is being too kind, how will I be able to accept it?”
With a cup in hand, Zhang Shucheng immediately came over to act as the middleman, saying, “Regardless of who was wrong and who was right, when all of us drink this tea, all will be water under the bridge!”
“In that case, then it seems I will just have to accept!” Miao Yi reached out and took the tea from Mo Shengtu, held up the bowl towards the two of them, and said, “Cheers!”
“Cheers!” the two smiled as they nodded.
Knocking their bowls together, the three of them grinned at one another, then placed their bowls at the side of their lips, lifted their heads and drank.
To the side, the confucian scholar and the cook looked at each other in confusion—could it be that he failed to see the message just now?
Who would have thought that a sudden change would happen the next instant; the confucian scholar and the cook immediately widened their eyes!
Taking advantage of the moment when Mo Shengtu and Zhang Shucheng had their tea bowls blocking their faces, the spear in Miao Yi’s hand shone with a silver gleam, and had stabbed into Mo Shengtu’s chest with a swift and silent strike.
Without even giving time for Mo Shengtu to scream, the blood-stained spearhead on his back was being ruthlessly swept towards Zhang Shucheng who was at the side.
Realizing something was off, Zhang Shucheng made a quick dodge, but was still moments too late.
An arm instantly flew out, the blood-stained spearhead hacked its way under his armpit.
Fortunately he was the second one to be attacked, which gave him some time to respond, otherwise his heart might have already been cut out.