Pursuing Immortality - novelonlinefull.com
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"Go back… go back…
"Have a nice sleep… forget it all tomorrow…"
At midnight, that woman with long wavy hair walked out of the hotel. Instead of hailing a taxi, she just stumbled on along the street. Her eyes were lackl.u.s.ter and her face blank; she looked like someone in shock, but somehow knew where she was going and could tell the direction.
On any given day, her condition now had just made her a potential drunk rape victim.
"That chick was so hot, 80/100 at least."
"Totally! Gosh, that tight a*s. Her husband is so d.a.m.n lucky!"
"c.r.a.p, why don't we have… hey, hey, there's a chick!"
Two young men appeared across the street, probably just finished bar-hopping somewhere and were babbling loudly. They were excited at the sight of the woman and went up to her eagerly.
"Miss, you all right?"
"Me? Teehee, I'm ok."
The woman looked at them and gave them a strange smile.
"Where do you live? Do you need us to accompany you home?"
"That's ok. I can walk, I can…" She was swaying and trotting as she spoke, barely able to stand straight.
The two exchanged a look. The woman was obviously high on something and did not take the drug knowingly. Some guy had probably tricked her, finished with her, and kicked her out.
Losers like these two couldn't care less about picking up woman in her state on the street. Instead, they snickered at each other, delighted at their turn of luck.
"It's not safe for you to wander around at this hour. Let us take you back."
"That's right. You're welcome at our place if you can't go back home."
With that, the two picked up the woman over their shoulders and were about to take her back to their place.
Over on the other side, Bai Yu and his companions had just had barbecue for dinner and were going upstairs in a noisy bunch. Gu Yu walked in the rear listening to them shooting the breeze, experiencing the secular world he had been away from for a while.
He pulled the gate of the hotel open and was about to walk in when he looked up and saw two straw-haired men went into the hotel next door with a young woman between them. The two men were nothing special, but something was not right with that woman.
"Old Bai, you guys go up first. I need to buy something."
"Be quick about it!"
After Bai Yu and the others went up, Gu Yu went promptly to the hotel next door. He was very efficient: he found the two men, knocked them unconscious, and dragged them into the fire escape.
"Teehee, sleep nice, nice…"
The woman's eyes were half closed; she kept swaying, apparently completely unaware of what was going on.
Gu Yu examined her. There was a strange energy fluctuation with a faint dark aura about her. The aura was very unfamiliar to him. It was twisted, frenzied, and somewhat l.u.s.tful.
He then scanned her with his mental force, and his face darkened.
The woman's mind was extremely weak. If a normal person had a strength of 10, she had only 2 left. She was like a candle in the wind that could be extinguished at any moment.
He couldn't think of any known cultivation method at this stage that could have such an effect.
Watching the woman still murmuring to herself, Gu Yu let out a gentle sigh. Her mind was almost in pieces; she was definitely not going to survive this, unless some heavenly treasure was discovered to nourish the mind—then she might become a normal person again in ten or twenty years.
However, even if such a treasure was found, who would be willing to use it on a common girl?
Shaking his head, he knocked the woman unconscious as well. He would leave it to the police. In that way, she could at least get a proper burial.
Like Lu Xun once said (not), the immortals fought and the mortals died.
Before they realized, three days had pa.s.sed.
The two strange men did not do anything out of line apart from that business the other night. The team from Nippon was even more careful and had been hiding in their villa the entire time.
The two groups knew perfectly well of the existence of one another. Moreover, they were sure that scouts from other countries were here as well.
At this stage, although all countries did not have detailed information on the situation in other countries, they had the general idea. This government, for instance, knew that it had been around three years since the spiritual essence began to recover.
They had sent out a large number of agents to gather information abroad and figured out that the time was three in Nippon, two in southeast Asia, three in Africa, and about the same in the European countries. Britannia, however, was an exception. The recovery there began four years ago.
The timeline was vital. After all, with an extra year, there was one more year to plan and more cards on the table. The international conference at the end of this year, to put it plainly, was a political game where the countries would probe around before setting up rules they could all agree upon.
Nov. 13th was the 20th day of the 10th month in the traditional calendar, and the birthday of Zhang Jixian, the 30th Celestial Master.
A kilometer to the east of Celestial Master Temple was another temple—Shangqing Palace. The temple had Elephant Mountain on its left, Lu Creek flowing outside its front gate, a cloud of forest in the front, and solid rocks supporting its back. Built in the Eastern Han Dynasty, it was where Zhang Daoling, the first Celestial Master, cultivated; it also went by the name "Celestial Master's Cottage".
People were rushing in since before dawn, trying to claim a place with a better view.
Gu Yu arrived at the temple with Bai Yu and his friends. He had thought about putting on some disguise so that those people would not spot him, but when he was there, he realized that wouldn't be necessary.
Oh my, there had to be a thousand people outside the Devil-subduing Hall of the East Yard alone! Every head, chest, and foot were stuck to someone else's head, chest, and foot. People piled up like building blocks; it was a wonder that no one ended up pregnant by the end of this.
The walls on either side, the tall trees, and the roofs were all crammed with curious onlookers.
Two levels of high platforms were set up in front of the great hall, divided into two circles. The inner ring was where the contest took place and the outer ring consisted of three rows of seats.
Gu Yu rolled his eyes at the scene. Well, at least they didn't try to livestream it!
The hubbub of the crowd filled the air. Before long, all thirty-six members of Qiyun, Zhang Jintong, and Mu Kun and his men arrived at Shangqing Palace.
'What is all this?!'
They were shocked by the scene as well—even Lu Yuanqing's mouth twitched. He then grabbed Mu Kun by his arm. "Hold on!"
With that, they shot into the air and flew over the tall wall like two big birds. When the energy almost wore out, Lu Yuanqing flipped his whisk—which seemed to be some sort of refined instrument—and there was a strong gust of wind, which pushed them forward for another dozen meters until they landed steadily on the stage.
The crowd watched this with goggling eyes. They were overwhelmed by excitement, but their minds did not have time to react just yet. The result was a complete dumbstruck silence.
People of this country all grew up watching at least one wuxia film or reading at least one serial face-slapping novels. Deep down in every mind, there was that adolescent fantasy of "I'm top of the world and you're all suckers".
"I still feel like a circus monkey. I'm not happy about this!" Chao Kongtu snorted and threw a little tantrum. "I'm going back to Maoshan. You can get on that stage all you want."
"Cut the c.r.a.p. Just move it!" Zhong Lingyu prompted, then added his sarcastic comment with an expressionless face, "Are you going back to Maoshan or Phoenix Mountain? I heard you had a great time with that young cousin?"
"Hey, that's out of the line! Why do you have to bring that up?"
Chao Kongtu sounded frustrated. He had no choice but to take out a talisman and chant, "The illusion of golden light here me out: transform an image into reality. Go!"
The talisman turned into a flash of light in the air, then clouds rolled up and golden light glittered in disarray. The next moment, there was a long misty bridge suspended in mid-air.
The bridge did not seem to be able to hold long, and the rest of the priest dared not linger. They leapt onto the cloud bridge in turn and walked to the high platform.
"That's Taoist skill! I didn't come all the way here for nothing!"
"Priest, please take me in as a pupil!"
It was only until then that the crowd woke up from the first round of amazement and was astonished by this second one. The courtyard erupted with noises.
"Humph, petty tricks!"
Immediately after there, a voice rose above all the hubbubs and chanted, "The heaven, the earth, the sun, the moon, and the star, I hereby summon the souls of the giants. They will arrive at my bid and follow my spirit."
All of a sudden, a strange wind blew across the yard, sending dust into the air. A moment later, someone looked up and called out in surprise, "Look! Look!"
Everyone raised their head and their jaws fell open. Zhang Ziliang was sitting on a cloud of mist as if he was on a palanquin. Beside him were four semi-transparent glowing human-shaped figures with blurry faces.
Two were in the front and two at the back; the four looked as if they were carrying the four corners of a cloud palanquin.
In a few seconds, the cloud palanquin landed and the four glowing figures disappeared. Zhang Ziliang smoothed out his robe, the look on his face clearly defiant.
Lu Yuanqing's fingers twitched. It seemed the foreign branch had indeed taken much useful knowledge with them. This contest his senior brother was going to have might not be as promising as they expected.
"What were those? Yellow-turban Giants?"
Those from Nippon were hanging on a tree, staring at the disappearing glow with astonished faces.
"Why, that's not bad, actually!" Tony, who sat casually on a roof, commented. The skills Lu Yuanqing and Chao Kongtu used might look dazzling, but they were nothing but minor tricks.
With Zhang Ziliang's appearance, even Tony was serious for a second, but he broke into a laughter the next moment. "The thousand-year inheritance has indeed left something worth noting. Too bad it's not theirs and they have to fight among themselves."
"Don't underestimate your enemy!" The short-haired man pointed at Lu Yuanqing, Shi Yunlai, and several others. "Those are better than us. I won't stand more than a few blows fighting them."
He then pointed at Chao Kongtu and Zhong Lingyu. "And those two are likely our equals."
"Humph, those are all the capable men of this country, aren't they?" Tony raised his chin towards the stage and said contemptuously, "The elite soldiers are not bad, but the middle and low level ones are too weak. If a war were really to break out, we Britannians will defeat them without breaking a sweat. Just look at all these stinky mortals down there. Who else is out there apart from those on the stage?"
With his excitement, a faint streak of dark aura escaped him.
The others naturally could not sense it, but a certain fellow yawned and darted a look in their direction.
The forty or so people took their seats on the stage.
Zhang Ziliang a.s.sumed authority and stepped up first. His voice was not loud, but everyone could hear him clearly.
"The thousand-year-long orthodoxy of Longhu Mountain has never been interrupted… nearly a century ago, my great uncle took refuge overseas. The experience did not demoralize him; instead, he established the foreign Way of Celestial Masters. Ever since then, there has been the dispute over the real orthodoxy… Now that the great opportunity is upon us, it's time to end this feud. Therefore, I am here to challenge you. Zhang Shouyang, do you have the courage to accept it?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
Zhang Shouyang rose from his seat and went out to stand on the other end of the stage. Their respective domineering and reserved manner were of stark contrast.
"Good. Let's make it clear beforehand. We will have three rounds of contest; the last one standing is the winner, dead or alive. Do you have the courage to accept that?"
The crowd erupted. Dead or alive? What happened to the modern legal system? Wasn't that a bit over the board?
Zhang Shouyang remained indifferent and asked a question in return, "What about the stake?"
"I win, you welcome me into the temple yourselves; I lose, I return to the Southeast and stay there for the rest of my life, and admit you to be the true orthodoxy."
"Haha, that sounds a little petty. How about taking the game up a notch?"
"You lose, your branch returns to Longhu Mountain and the orthodoxy reunites with its birthplace until the end of time without violation. Do you have the courage to accept that?"
Zhang Shouyang threw Zhang Ziliang's own words back at him. The others on the stage, as well as Gu Yu, were all astonished. That was definitely over the board!
Shocked and enraged, a million ideas were rushing into Zhang Ziliang's head. He had never expected Zhang Shouyang to be this resolute. After a moment of pondering, his self-confidence took over and he said in a malicious tone, "Fine. I agree!"