Shi Mu couldn’t help but feel surprised as he heard such words. He turned his head, and shot a glance at Cai.
"Moreover, anyone can go to the Welcome Ceremony for the Immortals. And Shi Tou, you can also try to look for Ximen Xue there," the parrot said.
Shi Mu’s body was shaken-up. He hadn’t thought about this since his mind was already occupied with this chaos.
"You’re right," He nodded and accelerated his pace.
"I never noticed that your mind is very flexible," Shi Mu praised him a little.
"That’s obvious. I am recognized as the second most-intelligent parrot in the entire Gossiping Parrot Race when it comes to wisdom. Moreover, no one has ever dared to grab the first rank. Quack, quack..." Cai laughed out loud in a self-admiring manner.
Shi Mu abruptly changed the direction, and walked towards a nearby shop which had been decorated rather magnificently.
"Shi Tou, where are you heading to?" Cai shouted.
However, Shi Mu didn’t pay any attention to him. He took a few quick steps, and arrived in front of the shop. He then raised his head, and looked up once. After that, he walked straight into the shop.
A board hung over the shop. It was inscribed with - "Smart Clothing Pavilion!"
Shi Mu walked out of the shop after a while. But, his body was clad in a close-fitting embroidered robe at this time. The new robe looked exceptionally spiritual. So, each and every gesture of Shi Mu’s seemed more vigorous and majestic.
"I would like to say that I didn’t think that you would look so handsome when you’d put on a new robe!" the parrot shook his head on Shi Mu’s shoulder and said.
Shi Mu arrived at the post house that was Zhong Xiu’s residence nearly half-an-hour later.
However, something took him by surprise once he got there. The entrance door of the small courtyard was wide open. And, a person’s voice was indistinctly spreading from inside.
"Miss Zhong seems to be doing well. Today is the day of the Welcome Ceremony for the Immortals. I have already booked the best location. You can..." a young man’s voice could be heard.
Shi Mu’s brows plunged into a frown. This voice seemed to belong to the blue-robed young man from the other day.
"Thank you so much for your kindness, Young Master Shentu. But, I don’t need it," Zhong Xiu replied in a cold manner.
"He He, Miss Zhong might not be aware of the fact that some of the ancestors of my Shentu Family have ascended to the Immortal Realm by passing through this Ascension to Immortality Ceremony. So, there’s a possibility that one of the descending Immortals might turn out to be an ancestor from my Shentu family! I can see that Miss Zhong possesses an extraordinary innate talent. The competition’s schedule would become a lot easier if you have my support in this gathering. Also, we both may soar to the Immortal Realm together someday. And, we can take care of each other while we forge ahead on this journey," the blue-robe man continued.
"Thank you for your kindness again, Young Master Shentu. But, I have already invited a man to attend this Welcome Ceremony by my side."
"No problem; the more the merrier. Won’t it be better to go with other companions?" The blue-robed man’s gestures made it seem as if he was pursuing her in a relentless manner.
Shi Mu’s brows creased into a frown as he heard his words. He sped-up, and entered the courtyard.
It was indeed the blue-robed man who was pestering Zhong Xiu in the courtyard.
His scoundrel friends weren’t following him this time. However, Zhong Xiu looked as if she was in an extremely annoyed frame of mind. But, her gentle disposition still didn’t allow her to speak heavy words of refusal.
Zhong Xiu’s face gleamed with a delightful smile as her eyes fell on Shi Mu. She immediately shoved the blue-robed man aside as she rushed over and hid behind Shi Mu.
The blue-robed man’s complexion sank as he turned around and saw Shi Mu standing there. He then spoke-up, "Your Excellency, who are you after all?"
"My identity has nothing to do with Your Excellency. So, Your Excellency doesn’t need to take any trouble. Lady Zhong and I have a prior engagement. Please leave," Shi Mu replied while crossing his hands behind his back.
"Please leave," Cai took off and landed on Zhong Xiu’s shoulder as he interposed a few words.
"I don’t care who you are. Don’t bother me and Miss Zhong if you are smart enough. Hmm, you don’t even have the qualifications to participate in the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony. So, how can you be a match for Miss Zhong?" the blue-robed man said.
"You are very noisy!" Cai shot a glance at him. Then, he turned his head, and looked at Zhong Xiu.
"Pretty Elder Sister, don’t pay any attention to him. There are many swindlers in this city nowadays. And, the majority of them are obviously sinister and sly people. In fact, they borrow clothes in order to show-off and cheat people. They lure people into their trap by flaunting their money," Cai argued.
Shi Mu couldn’t help but burst out laughing as he heard these words. Even Zhong Xiu couldn’t refrain from smiling.
"Nonsense! Who doesn’t know the Shentu family’s name in this entire Heavenly Yu City! You are humiliating me!" The blue-robed man flew into a rage.
"There should be a lot of things in your family if that’s the case…?" Cai asked.
"That’s natural!" The blue-robed man stuck out his chest, and revealed an arrogant look.
"Does your family have a parrot that can speak? Because… the beautiful Elder Sister likes me the most!" Cai shouted.
His words struck the blue-robed man dumb for a while. It was true that the Shentu family had a big enterprise with lots of assets. But, they didn’t have a smart and witty parrot like Cai - a parrot that was able to give a quick reply to a human.
Zhong Xiu reached out and stroked Cai’s feathers in a gentle manner. Her face brimmed with an affectionate expression for him. Cai also coordinated with her, and rubbed his hairy head against her lily-white hand.
"I can see that Miss Zhong likes this parrot very much. So, I shall buy this parrot for you. Quote a price for this parrot as per your wish!" the blue-robe man’s eyes turned towards Shi Mu as he said.
"I don’t wish to sell," Shi Mu seemed too disinclined to pay any attention to this person.
The blue-robed young man didn’t know what he was supposed to do…
"Lady Zhong, the Welcome Ceremony for the Immortals will begin shortly. Let's go," Shi Mu turned his head and addressed Zhong Xiu.
Zhong Xiu nodded and closed the door to her house.
They didn’t pay any attention to the blue-robed man as they walked away towards a distant place.
The blue-robed man’s complexion turned unsightly, and his eyes blazed with a desire for her. But, she had already walked away. So, he didn’t have any alternative but to leave with a heavy heart.
Shi Mu and Zhong Xiu walked side-by-side towards the western part of the city after they had left the post house. The Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult’s branch was located upon that thousand-feet-high small mountain.
Shi Mu’s embroidered robe was complimenting his personality very nicely. His face appeared to be brimming with a heroic spirit. And, his tall and sturdy stature looked very majestic. Zhong Xiu looked as pretty as a flower on the other hand. In fact, her figure gave off a delicate and exquisite aura. So, these two individuals looked quite a match as they walked together.
"Thank you for helping me out, Brother Shi. I genuinely dislike that Young Master," Zhong Xiu spoke-up as she secretly glanced at Shi Mu’s embroidered robe.
"It was only a trivial matter. Lady Zhong doesn’t have to be so formal," Shi Mu replied.
"We were acquaintance when we were young. So, Brother Shi doesn’t have to treat me like a stranger. You can call me Miss Xiu," Zhong Xiu was walking with her head slightly lowered. Therefore, she had gradually gotten closer to Shi Mu without even noticing it.
Shi Mu’s vision flickered, and his face revealed a hint of awkwardness.
"The Welcome Ceremony for the Immortals is about to begin. Let's walk faster," he spoke-up as accelerated his pace.
Zhong Xiu’s graceful eyes flashed and she complied with a soft groan. Then, she followed him closely.
Zhong Xiu’s residence wasn’t far from the Western District. So, it didn’t take them long to arrive at the foot of the hill.
The stream of people was several times thicker in this place than the usual. It was obvious that they were common people who weren’t qualified to climb up the hill. But, they still couldn’t suppress their curiosity to see the Immortals. In fact, they had surrounded the mountain in such a manner that not even a drop would trickle through. And, all of them were constantly gazing into the distance to steal a glimpse of the Immortals.
The ceremony hadn’t started yet. So, these people were excitedly discussing matters related to the Immortals. Some people’s faces looked red with anger while argued over some topics like – what would be the extent of Immortal’s magic powers… or did Immortals live in the World of Immortals… or what kind of people the Immortals were…
The two people spent a little time to force their way through the bustling crowd. And, they eventually reached the hill where the Cult’s branch was located.
There was a huge public square outside the Cult’s branch. But, the square was fully packed with a sea of people at the moment. There were perhaps ten-thousand or more people in the square at this time…
Moreover, most of the peripheral places were occupied by some of the invited dignitaries and well-known people of this city. Most of them were clad in magnificent clothing. Some of their family members and servants could also be seen around them. Many influential families which had converged from various regions, and the people who belonged to various Sects, were also present amid the Aristocracy of the Lu Shan Kingdom.
"Elder Pan, did you really say that Immortals are descending to this world?"
"This old man has lived the greater part of his life. I have led more than thirty years of my life as an official. However, I had never thought that I would be fortunate-enough to witness an Immortal when I am this close to my retirement. I consider myself satisfied with my life."
"I did everything I could to make a good wealth. But now, I only wish to find ways to make my intelligent grandson enter the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult so that he can also become an Immortal someday."
The people of World of the Immortals had descended to this world long back. And, that had given rise to an uproar in the entire Heavenly Yu City. It wasn’t as if everyone present here held a reverent attitude towards them. However, the common people at the foothill and the dignitaries had one thing in common… everyone wanted to experience the graceful bearing of the Immortals.
"It seems very lively here," Shi Mu let out a sigh when he saw the present situation.
He could see that there was a huge sacrificial altar in the public square. Flags were fluttering around it. Miraculous rays of light would often shoot up to the sky. But, he couldn’t see everything vividly since he was far away from the altar.
"This is the periphery. You can’t see clearly from here. Brother Shi, let’s go inside," Zhong Xiu pulled Shi Mu and arrived at a corner of the public square. There was an exit before them. Many blue-robed disciples were watching over the gate. All of them wore the Taoist-uniform of the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult.
Zhong Xiu showed them the order token of the Ascension to Immortality Ceremony. A guarding disciple examined it and confirmed its authenticity. After that, he allowed the two to go in the inner area of the public square.
Almost all the young and talented people who had planned to attend the Grand Ceremony this time stood inside the square. And, most of them were also accompanied by someone who stood beside them. It was needless to mention that everyone had a look of excitement across their face.
Shi Mu and Zhong Xiu spotted a slightly less-crowded area. Then, both of them went there, and found a place to stand.
Afterwards, Shi Mu swept his gaze around the square. He found that the huge sacrificial altar in the center of the square was surrounded by the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult’s disciples.
A dozen or more people were seated on the altar. Shi Mu was rather far from the altar. But, he could still sense that a few of these people were exuding a formidable and boundless aura. In fact, it seemed as if each one of them was far beyond Za Gu.
The person who was seated in the middle seemed particularly incredible. He sat next to a royally-dressed middle-aged man. He was the same white-haired elderly man from the other day. And, he wore a blue trigram Taoist-robe. The aura around this baby-faced elderly man was as deep as the sea. In fact, it was far beyond the realm of the others.
"The Taoist-robed old man in the middle is the Head of the Transcending Heaven Immortal Cult - Taoist Wu Chen. It is said that his cultivation has already broken through the Earth rank. In fact, he has attained the legendary realm of the Heaven rank. And, the middle-aged man beside him is Lu Shan Kingdom’s current Emperor," Zhong Xiu tracked Shi Mu’s line of sight. Then, she softly said.
"The Heaven rank…?" Shi Mu was startled.
As far as he knew, the realm of martial arts cultivation would start from the ‘martial disciples’. They gradually grew and attained Hou Tian realm, Xian Tian Realm, and then the Earth-rank. But, he had never heard of a realm that was even beyond the Earth-rank. So, this was the first time that he had heard the word ‘Heaven-rank’…
"It seems that Brother Shi has never heard of Heaven-rank. Even I was awestruck when I learned this from my master," Zhong Xiu had guessed this from Shi Mu’s facial expression.
So, she put on a sweet smile, and continued to explain, "The strength of the Earth-ranked powerhouse is already unrivalled. But, they can ascend to the Heaven-rank from the Earth-rank if they are able to advance to the next level. It’s a thorough transformation. And, it’s said that a person can turn into an eagle and hover high up into the sky once they attain the Heaven-rank. In fact, such a person is considered equivalent to a semi-Immortal existence. I have heard that there’s only one person in the entire Lu Shan Kingdom who has attained the Heaven-rank. And, Elder Taoist Wu Chen is that one person…"