The Heavenly Yu City was the Capital City of the Lu Shan Kingdom. It was considered the most prosperous city in the Lu Shan Kingdom. In fact, it had the same status in the entire Eastern continent.
The Heavenly Yu City extended over a vast area; it was several thousands of miles in perimeter. This city was located in front of a river, and had its back against a mountain. So, it was difficult to launch an attack on this city. Moreover, it was also the convergence hub of the entire Eastern continent.
The city-wall was almost two-hundred feet in height. The entire wall had been constructed with green-colored rocks, and each rock was ten-feet in height and five feet in width. Moreover, each rock looked like a piece of solid cast-iron that couldn’t be shaken.
This magnificent city wall was similar to the body of a gigantic dragon. And, it stretched all along the eastern and western entrances to the city. The well-forested Mount Sanqing covered the city from the northern side, while the southern entrance was guarded by the convenience of the thousand-feet-broad Xie River.
Flags were fluttering on the city wall. There was a watchtower after every five-hundred feet on the city wall. Several fully-armed soldiers were stationed on each watchtower. And, they kept a close watch over everything in the surrounding… so much so that didn’t allow the slightest activity slip past their gazes.
The morning sun had started to rise. And, the dazzling golden radiance of the sunshine was pouring down in torrents from the sky, and into the vast expanse blue-water of the Xie River. Intermittent bursts of waves could be seen glistening in the glowing sunlight.
Two long queues of people had long been formed outside the majestic eastern gate. In fact, the queues were several-miles long.
Some of them were farmers who were carrying firewood on their shoulders. Some of them were warriors who were riding their horses. And, there were some craftsmen who were carrying large wicker baskets on their back... while some of them were merchants who could be seen sitting in their carts. All kinds of people present there, and the clamor of this crowd was constantly ringing in the air.
The entry process had become even more severe at the city gate. Perhaps, it was because the time of Ascension to Immortality Ceremony was around the corner. Many Taoist men dressed in blue robes were also present at the gates apart from ordinary soldiers who guarded the city gate. The demeanor of the Taoist men indicated that they commanded a high level of respect amongst these soldiers.
These Taoist men held a round mirror in their hands. A golden-colored eight-trigram pattern was drawn on the back of the mirror. These mirrors would shoot out a faint-golden light.
Those who wanted to pass through the city gate were needed to go through waves of questioning by the soldiers. Moreover, they also had to pass through the golden light of these Taoists people’s trigram mirrors before they were allowed to enter the city.
A group of ten or more people could be seen advancing towards the city’s gate from afar. There was a luxurious carriage in the center of this group, and it seemed as if it was encircled by these people. They were walking straight from the middle of two long queues. The people who stood in queues pointed their fingers, and shot an astounded look towards them as they saw them advance straight in the direction of the city’s gate.
Shi Mu was positioned at the end of this group.
He couldn’t control himself from sizing-up the magnificent city wall as he walked towards it. He looked calm and composed on the surface. But, the fact was that he was little shocked deep in his heart.
The Heavenly Yu City was indeed spectacular!
In fact, the Feng City didn’t deserve to be called a ‘city’ if it were to be compared with this Heavenly Yu City. One could say that it was no better than a small town…
Cai stood on Shi Mu’s shoulder. His face was smeared with a touch of curiosity. And, he was frequently sweeping his vision around out of curiosity. However, he was surprisingly very quiet.
The fact was that Shi Mu had warned him in advance. He had threatened Cai that the soldiers would seize him if he dared to blabber while they entered the city. Then, they would pluck his feathers and stew him to make a cup of soup for their snacks. Therefore, he didn’t want to make any clamor at this point of time.
Liu An was walking beside Shi Mu. He looked a little dull and weak - like a feeble cloud in light wind. A distracted look could also be vaguely seen on his face, and it seemed as if he was caught-up in his train of thoughts.
Shi Mu and his group were still twenty feet away from the city gate. Suddenly, a seemingly ordinary man with thin and tall stature was stopped by the round mirror with the ‘trigram’ pattern on its back. Then, a few soldiers came forward to arrest him. And, they gave him no explanations as they did so.
"What have I done? Why do you want to arrest me…?!" the thin and tall man shouted as he resisted.
Many people who stood in the queues revealed a trace of surprise on their faces as they saw this scene. Shi Mu’s gaze also got pulled towards the scene.
Then, a man walked out. He seemed like a high-ranked military officer. He shouted at the thin and tall man to clear the way, "What’s this noise about?! This is an order from the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult. Any person suspected owing to heresy is to be detained for interrogation without exception. And, any such individual will only be released after their identity is verified. We would rather grab an innocent than allow a guilty to slip by. And, those who disobey shall be killed on the spot! "
The tall and thin man’s complexion turned ashen out of fright as he heard these words. However, he didn’t dare to show the slightest resistance again. He was then taken away by two soldiers.
Shi Mu didn’t know what this word ‘heresy’ mentioned by the opposite party referred to. But, he felt a formidable aura around the military officer when he shot a glance at him. It seemed as if he was a Xian Tian primary-stage powerhouse.
It could be said that Xian Tian warriors were revered as a protector of the nation’s military in the Da Qi Kingdom. But, they weren’t assigned the top-most positions in the military. But, the military General of the Heavenly Yu City was a Xian Tian-ranked warrior.
There was a sharp contrast between these nations if this point was to be considered.
Shi Mu and other pedestrians arrived close to the city gate. They were barely a hundred feet away at this time.
"You people over there… why you aren’t following any of these two lines?!" A soldier who was guarding the gate saw them approaching. He then pointed his finger in the direction of the convoy, and yelled-out in a loud voice.
A few surrounding soldiers and blue Taoist-robed men were about to step forward when they saw this scene. But, a dignified middle-aged man walked out from the side of the horse-drawn carriage. He had actually taken the initiative to move forward and welcome them! He then fished out a palm-sized golden token from his bosom, and held it up towards the military officer from afar.
The military officer swept his vision over the golden token, and his complexion changed very drastically. He separated the soldiers from either side, and strode over. He then cupped his hands in obeisance towards the dignified middle-aged man, and said, "It’s a senior messenger as it turns out. Let them pass!"
His voice had barely faded, and the complexion of the gatekeeper and those Taoist-robed men changed. They then quickly stepped aside to make way for this convoy.
The luxurious carriage passed through the gate under the attention of other surrounding people. Shi Mu and others obviously accompanied the carriage, and entered the city gate. They didn’t have to go through the interrogation process either…
The first thing that seemed pleasing to eyes right after they entered the gate was a wide bluestone boulevard. It was large-enough to accommodate ten horses side-by-side. There was also a crossroad in the front, and it led to three directions. A number of people were shuttling back-and-forth on these roads.
Suddenly, Liu An walked over to the middle-aged man who was walking beside the carriage. He then cupped his hands towards him in obeisance and said, "Brother Lu, the convoy has safely arrived in the Heavenly Yu City. There are some important things that I have to take care of. So, I’ll take my leave."
"Brother Liu, wouldn’t it be nice if you follow me to the mansion and take a little rest if you are not in a hurry? I could use some help around the Heavenly Yu City. And, I can help you with some financial remuneration if there’s an issue," the dignified middle-aged man urged him to stay.
"Brother Lu is being formal. I genuinely have something important. So, it would become very inconvenient for me to stay," Liu An replied with a smile.
The middle-aged man noticed that Liu An was firmly determined to leave. So, he didn’t try to stop him. He instead took out one brocade sack from his bosom, and handed it over to Liu An.
Liu An accepted it. Then, he turned around and bid his farewell to Shi Mu. He then blended into the stream of people, and disappeared into the vast sea of people.
After that, Shi Mu also stepped forward, and bid his goodbye to the middle-aged man. The opposite party obviously tried to stop him as well. But, Shi Mu was also determined to leave. Therefore, he similarly rewarded Shi Mu for his services.
Shi Mu received the brocade sack. He then swept his eyes over it, and saw that there was a dazzling silver middle-rank magic charm, and ten primary-level spirit stones inside it. He couldn’t help but feel delighted.
This silver magic charm was the same one that Princess Huo Wu had given him when they were inside the Portal of the Brave Warriors; it was a teleportation magic charm.
He received the brocade sack into the Vast Earth Ring. Then, he casually began to walk towards the street on the right hand side. Meanwhile, the luxurious carriage continued to gallop towards the street at the front along with the rest of the people.
Shi Mu wandered around the street for some time. And, he continued to observe the most prosperous city of the Eastern continent.
The city looked very lively with incessant hustle-and-bustle of people everywhere. Most of them were dressed in magnificently embroidered clothes. Luxurious carts and convoys with fully-loaded goods could be seen shuttling back-and-forth. Small tradesmen could be found everywhere on the street. They would pull carts, and would try to sell their goods.
There were rows of buildings of different heights on either side of the street. In addition, various kinds of shops could be seen everywhere. More and more shops had started to open even though it was early morning. However, they would start attracting customers in no time.
However, the thing that made Shi Mu’s heart flutter with excitement was that there were many five-or-six storied buildings around. He could see from afar that this city was crowded with many lofty buildings. Seven-or-eight storied buildings could also be seen here. He could even see one small hill in the west. This hill was about a thousand-feet-in height. Clouds and mist were curling around its summit. But, he could vaguely see a magnificent and vast-stretched palace on it.
Three or four storey tall buildings were considered very tall in a common city. But, they seemed to be a common sight here.
Shi Mu couldn’t help but think of the scenery he had encountered after he had left the Wasteland. And, the scenery he had seen along the journey…
He had seen numerous sparsely populated villages and towns everywhere in that desolate and infertile land. The originally rich spiritual aura in those mountains had somehow become dead and quiet. Even the vegetation had withered. In fact, even that small mountain town was rare to come by.
However, the thing that he remembered the most was that there were vast-stretched tombs outside many villages… so much so that many of the skeletons were still exposed under the sun.
And, these features formed a sharp contrast to the hustle-and-bustle of this place.
"Shi Tou, let’s go to that sweet-smelling building and have a meal. Cai is starving to death!" the parrot’s voice suddenly resounded in his ears.
Cai’s eyes had brightened up as he pointed his wings towards a nearby magnificent-looking restaurant.
"You had already gobbled-up a lot of things before we entered the city. So, wait until noon…" Shi Mu didn’t pay attention to Cai.
"Humph… stingy fellow!" Cai flapped his wings and flew away in an infuriated mood.
Shi Mu didn’t mind it either. He put away this thought, and began to stroll through hotels, shops, and other places.
The parrot flew back after a while.
"Shi Tou, some people are performing a sideshow over there. It looks so exciting. Let's go to take a look at it!" the parrot shouted as it hovered over Shi Mu’s head.
"Shi Tou, some people seem to be selling precious stones. Those stones look so beautiful!"
"And Shi Tou, quickly look over there. There’s indeed something that seems very amusing!"
The incessant chattering from the parrot continued to ring until Shi Mu ended his first-day tour in the Heavenly Yu City.
He had chosen a hotel before the sky had darkened. And, he had rented an independent small courtyard for his temporary stay.
He came to realize something based on the information he had collected from today's exploration. Many disciples of various sects had arrived here to participate in the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony like Ximen Xue had. And, they were arranged to stay in post houses that were distributed across the city.
It was said that these post houses were specially set up by the Lu Shan Kingdom for this Grand ceremony.
Moreover, there was a large number of such post houses in the Heavenly Yu City since the size of the city was very big. Therefore, attempting to find a particular person in this city was similar to looking for a needle in a haystack.
However, Shi Mu still had nearly seven months of time before the Demon Yang Ceremony would start. But, he only needed a span of three or four months to make it to Heavenly Demon Sect from the Heavenly Yu City. So, he had plenty of time on hand.
In addition, he also learned from some shopkeepers that the Ascension to Immortality Auction would begin only a month later. And, they would have some not-so-low-level evil ape’s blood and essence to sell this time.
This was great news for Shi Mu since he had been stuck in the bottleneck of the Art of Breeding a Strong Evil Ape’s fifth stage for a while.
Therefore, his intention was to wait for the auction to begin. And, he would also inquire about Ximen Xue’s whereabouts in this meantime.