The structure and appearance of the courtyard looked very obsolete. Many doors and windows looked old with paint flaking off the surface. A thick layer of dust had accumulated everywhere. The ground was covered with a layer of withered yellow leaves. It seemed like this house had been left uninhabited since a long time.
However, the size, the layout of the entire house, and the fine and exquisite details on the eaves of the roof proved that this house must’ve been the former residence of a well-established and wealthy man. Moreover, a magnificent golden board "The World is Limitless" could be seen in front of the house. So, it was clear that the owner shouldn’t be an ordinary man.
The period of dusk was approaching its end. And, the sky was gradually getting dark.
A handsome young man stopped in this courtyard. He stood still with his eyes closed. It seemed as if he had sensed something. He seemed to be in his early thirty. He wore a pale-white robe. A piece of silver cloth was wrapped around his forehead.
This person was the same handsome man who had followed the convoy and had entered this city along with Shi Mu; he was Liu An.
The night breeze was blowing against his face. And, his long scarlet hair was swaying in the breeze. In fact, it seemed as if they were dancing in the wind.
Liu An opened his eyes a moment later. His eyes looked as tranquil as the surface of the water. He observed the surrounding in a silent manner. After that, he lifted his foot, and walked over to a certain room which was in the east. He then shoved-open the door, and walked in.
The room was quite spacious. It was divided into two sides from the middle. All necessary items – like a bed, tables, chairs, etc - were available in the room. The room looked simple, yet elegantly arranged.
Liu An went into the room. He then stretched his hand towards a spot near the bedside, and pressed it. Then, he whirled around.
"Kacha" a dull thumping sound was heard.
The wall behind him suddenly split from the middle. And, it revealed a dark passage that seemed to be leading underground.
Liu An didn’t hesitate. His stature flashed and disappeared into the passage.
The passage wasn’t long. So, Liu An soon passed through the dark passage, and arrived in front of a bright secret room.
This was a small room with the perimeter of a few feet. There was a tribute table in the middle; no other basic amenities or decorative stuff was present.
Two candles were placed on top of that tribute table. Five motionless silhouettes could be seen on both sides of the room against the faint light of those candles.
These people stood up as they saw Liu An walk in. Three of them were men, and two were women.
One of these three men was a tall and sturdy black-dressed man; his face was painted with red color. The second one was an obese man who looked like a merchant. And, the third one was a young man with short and silver hair.
One of the two women had a tall stature, and her face was hidden behind a veil. Another woman had an exquisite and petite figure, and she was clad in a fiery-red dress.
These five people walked toward Liu An in a respectful manner, and greeted him in unison.
Liu An didn’t utter a single word. He walked past these five people, and arrived by the side of the central table. A cold and gloomy aura could be felt around his body.
A black memorial tablet was enshrined on top of that tribute table. And, four seal characters were carved on top of it – "Dong Fang Xian Tian!"
"Ping" a muffled sound was heard.
Liu An knelt down in front of the tribute table. Nobody noticed when the silver cloth wound around his forehead had been pulled off. But, it had exposed one hook-like round and scarlet-colored crescent moon in the middle of his forehead.
The other three men and two women also arrived behind Liu An, and knelt down in a similar fashion.
The atmosphere inside the secret room had turned sad and gloomy for a moment.
"Master’s relative didn’t agree. But, I still came."
"And, I will make them pay the price."
"The heavenly demon king will be unleashed upon this world. And, he would make the blood of these geniuses sprinkle over the sky of the Heavenly Yu City. Thus, I will offer condolences to your soul in heaven with their souls!" Liu An spoke-up in front of the memorial tablet. He then knocked his head thrice on the ground heavily.
"The Leader may rest in peace!"
The five others also pressed their foreheads to the ground along with Liu An. Everyone's face was smeared with the touch of a respectful expression.
At nightfall… in the western side of the Heavenly Yu City.
There was a cluster of palaces on the top of a small but nearly thousand-feet-high hill. The largest one of them was the golden palace, and it looked quite striking.
This palace was shrouded in a layer of seven-colored clouds and mist during the day. But, it would dazzle with magnificent golden light at night. In fact, this dazzling golden radiance could be seen in this dim light of night from every part of the city.
The Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult of the Heavenly Yu city had established a religious camp here.
The Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult was regarded as the national cult of the Lu Shan Kingdom. It had its branches spread across each and every city. But, the one established in the Heavenly Yu City was undoubtedly the largest among all. It also organized the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony.
However, people had divergent opinions about the whereabouts of the Immortal Cult’s leader.
Some people would say that the leader was in the depths of Mount Sanqing that extended over thousands of miles. Some people would say that the leader could be found in the Cult Camp of the Heavenly Yu City. Some others would even say that the leader resided on a floating island.
But, one thing was certain… The Immortal Cult’s leader would come to the Heavenly Yu City every time this Grand Ceremony was held. Moreover, he would personally preside over the ceremony.
At this time… in a certain side-hall of the golden palace.
An elderly man sat upright on the main seat. He was attired in a blue trigram Taoist clothing.
The elderly man had a child-like face. But, his spirit power seemed very profound and formidable. He gave off an aura of immortality and extraordinariness on one hand. However, he also seemed like a new-born at the same time.
An emaciated young boy with pale complexion sat on a chair on his right side. His facial expression looked as if he was in cramped conditions.
A middle-aged man with dignified facial expression stood on another side. He was the same Xian Tian leader of Shi Mu’s convoy. But, he had changed into a blue trigrams Taoist robe at this time.
"Young Hong, you have gone through many hardships over these past years. I’ve also heard that your convoy was besieged. But, you are in the Heavenly Yu City now, and you can consider it as your own home. You don’t have to feel awkward here. You take a good rest for the time being. You can see your ancestor after seven days," the elderly man’s eyebrows looked kind and gentle as he said.
The little boy didn’t speak anything. He simply gave a nod.
The elderly man called two young Taoist priests after a few more words were exchanged. They supported the young boy with their arms, and left the hall along with him.
"Send someone to give a message to Lu Shan’s people. Young Hong is a descendant of a Taoist immortal. He should be properly placed... And, he shall be bestowed with the title of a prince," the elderly man turned towards the middle-aged and said once the young boy had left.
"I’ll sincerely obey the leader’s order!" the dignified middle-aged man replied with deep veneration.
Time rolled on, and several days passed in an instant.
A grey-robed young man was slowly walking on a spacious bluestone street in the Heavenly Yu City. A parrot with feathers of multiple colors sat on his shoulder. The parrot was gazing around in a curious manner.
This young man was naturally Shi Mu.
This was the west Tong Ma Road of the Heavenly Yu City. It was considered the most bustling street in this city. The street seemed to be packed with the stream of people. And, various kinds of large roadside shops and restaurants could be seen everywhere on this street.
However, Shi Mu looked too occupied to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the street at this moment. His brows were creased, and it seemed as if he was pondering over something.
"Shi Tou, we have been walking since morning. I may die from exhaustion. We might as well take some rest up ahead!" Cai shouted.
"Do you have to walk?"
Shi Mu extended his hand, and hit the parrot’s head as he heard his words. Then, he raised his head and looked in the front.
There was an attractive and lofty building in the front. It had a broad entrance-hall and some luxurious decoration therein; it seemed to be a big restaurant.
This restaurant appeared very outstanding and eye-catching even on this bustling street.
The name "Lucky House Restaurant" was hung at the main entrance of the restaurant; it was written in a very artistic way.
Shi Mu’s heart moved. He had been busy since morning. He was indeed tired. So, he took a step to go in.
There was still some time left before noon. So, it wasn’t the lunchtime yet. Therefore, only a handful of customers could be seen in the restaurant.
"Sir, please come inside!" the waiters welcomed him in a passionate manner as they saw him walk in.
A huge parrot with colored-feather stood on Shi Mu’s shoulder. Also, Shi Mu’s manner of dressing looked a little strange. But, there was a majestic and stubborn imposing aura around him, and this left people to feel that they mustn’t dare to despise him. Furthermore, all kinds of good and bad people had gathered in the Heavenly Yu City these days. And, Shi Mu had carried a bird on his shoulders. So, it wasn’t surprising to say that it was similar to seeing a fierce tiger wandering on the street freely.
Shi Mu came to a private room on the second floor under the guidance of that waiter. The layout of the room looked very exquisite. A windscreen was used between the tables along with pots of flowers to separate the tables from each other. It looked very peaceful.
Only a dozen or more tables were arranged on the second floor. But, it didn’t seem crowded.
There were very few customers on the first floor. But, four or five tables were occupied by the customers on the second floor.
"I would like to have a cup of green tea with some snacks," Shi Mu sat down on a chair and said.
"And, I want to eat nuts," Cai shouted.
The waiter was surprised to see Cai when he felt Cai’s astonishing spirit power.
"Bring some nuts-sort of snacks," Shi Mu said.
The waiter complied. He stole a quick glimpse of Cai with astonishment. Then, he took his leave.
He served a few dishes of exquisite nut snacks and a pot of fragrant green tea after some time.
Shi Mu readily paid him a few silver notes. Then, he made the waiter withdraw.
Cai tasted the snacks in high spirits. He also took a mouthful of green tea from time-to-time to moisten his mouth.
But, there was no such excited and relaxed expression on Shi Mu’s face. Instead, the trace of a thoughtful expression had its shade on his face at this moment.
He had visited several post houses of the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony in this city over these past few days to make inquiries. But, his efforts had gone in vain since he couldn’t collect the slightest useful information.
However, it wasn’t surprising since the Heavenly Yu City had hundreds of such post houses. Perhaps, even two or three months of time wouldn’t be sufficient enough to visit each one by one.
An idea dawned on him. He thought that whether he should find someone to help him.
Suddenly, a burst of clamorous sound interrupted his train of thoughts.
"Ha ha, Brother Zhou’s strength is amazing. So, he wouldn’t face any problem in displaying his outstanding skills in the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony! I would like to congratulate Brother Zhou in advance for becoming an Immortal and stepping into the league of Immortals."
"Brother Ge is very polite. All kinds of experts have converged to participate in this ceremony. So, my inconsequential skill set isn’t worth mentioning at this point. Your Ge Family’s techniques are quite famous in the Lu Shan Kingdom. And, Brother Ge is already a Xian Tian middle level warrior. So, his chances of winning are much higher than mine. "
"You are flattering me..."
Shi Mu’s brows creased into a frown as he looked towards the source of this hubbub. He saw that four or five magnificent clothing young men sat around a table not far from his seat. They seemed to be in their twenties. They were talking and laughing so loudly that it seemed as if there was no one around them.
However, there was the presence of a threatening imposing aura around these young people; they were surprisingly Xian Tian warriors. In addition, their clothing made it seem that they belonged to some influential families; they perhaps held some special identity.
Shi Mu’s brows wrinkled as he listened to their interaction. These people ought to be the geniuses of their respective sects, and were here to take part in the grand ceremony.
He glanced at them and withdrew his gaze immediately-after.
These youngsters from influential families continued to talk in a loud voice as if there was no one around. Their arrogant talks continued for some time. Afterwards, their thread of discussion gradually shifted to some other topics.
"Brother Shentu, you must be free in the afternoon. It is said that Huang Shi shop wants to hold an auction. It would be a small-scale auction. But, it would be worth visiting," a tall and sturdy yellow-robed youth spoke-up while looking towards a youth dressed in blue.
Other people looked towards him in a similar fashion.
The youth dressed in blue had a well-proportioned body, and he commanded a rather heroic spirit.
"No, I have some important things to take care of in the afternoon," the youth dressed in blue replied with a mysterious smile.
"Brother Shentu wants to go to the Jasper Street where a post house of the Ascension to Immortality ceremony is. I heard that a stunning beauty has shown up very recently. Therefore, he often visits that place these days," another young man said with a smile.
"Oh, what kind of a woman could set even Brother Shentu’s heart on fire?" The yellow-robed sturdy youth revealed a curious look.