Gu Louyin was a little surprised: “How could anyone hate you.”
Xiao Yuan smiled, “Why not? There are many people who hate me.”
“Because you are too…” Gu Louyin stopped suddenly and did not continue.
After packing up, the two went to Luling City together.
Xiao Yuan noticed that Gu Louyin was wearing only a thin white shirt and couldn’t help asking, “Master Gu, aren’t you cold? Or are you using spiritual power to keep warm?”
Gu Louyin took a jade pendant from his waist and stretched out his hand to Xiao Yuan.
Xiao Yuan was surprised: “Are you giving it to me?”
Gu Louyin paused, “That’s okay too.”
“Then it is not for me.” Xiao Yuan picked up the jade pendant and his eyes lit up, “It’s so warm, my whole body feels warm.”
“This jade was made in Qingyan, it is also known as ’warm jade’.”
Xiao Yuan exclaimed: “If there is warm jade, what kind of fox fur padded jacket would you still need? Everyone in the world says that the disciples of Yunjian Pavilion do whatever it takes to keep their bearings and wear the same clothes in winter and summer. So that’s the secret of it.”
“If you like it, I’ll give it to you.”
“Don’t worry,” Xiao Yuan handed the warm jade back to Gu Louyin, “It won’t be too late to give it when you return to Yunjian Pavilion.”
There were more than 100,000 people in Luling City, so it could be regarded as an important town in the sparsely populated northern territory. Luling City was located not far from Xingtian Sect. When Xiao Yuan was still ‘favoured’, Xiao Du once brought him to Luling City to visit. If he remembered correctly, that day was the Mid-Autumn Festival Reunion Day.
Xiao Yuan stopped himself from thinking about it and said to Gu Louyin: “Master Gu, Yunjian Pavilion is located to the south of the Yangtze River. You must rarely come to the north.”
Gu Louyin hummed “en”.
“Although there are few people in the north, the food is delicious. For Luling City, rice cakes are a must. I came to Luling City to eat it once and I was shocked. After that, I often missed it. My brother sent someone…“ After Xiao Yuan realized what he was talking about, he paused slightly and changed his words: “I remember there is a rice cake stall not far from here. I invite you to eat rice cakes, Master Gu.”
Gu Louyin didn’t have time to say “you don’t have to” when Xiao Yuan had already gone afar, attracting the attention of countless men and women along the way. Gu Louyin hesitated for a moment, then followed.
Xiao Yuan bought two large rice cakes and handed one of them to Gu Louyin. Gu Louyin took it and didn’t eat it for a while.
Xiao Yuan said, “Master Gu, eat it.”
“Eating on the street isn’t elegant.”
Xiao Yuan took a bite of a rice cake and deliberately asked while chewing: “Then do you think I look elegant?”
Gu Louyin looked at Xiao Yuan for a moment, then looked away and said, “Master Xiao is a lone wanderer, so it’s better to disguise yourself a little.”
“Disguise? Does Master Gu want me to go out with a drapery hat like a woman? For what reason.”
Gu Louyin said, “Your face is too eye-catching.”
“It’s not like I wanted to grow up like this.” Xiao Yuan said indifferently, “Master Gu, are you really not eating?”
Xiao Yuan accepted that. He suspected that Gu Louyin would not take a bite on the street even if he died of starvation. “Master Gu, as the young master of Yunjian Pavilion, you should be very rich, right?”
“Yes. Do you need money? I can give it to you.”
“It’s not necessary,” Xiao Yuan said, “You can treat me to a good meal.”
Xiao Yuan took Gu Louyin to the most expensive restaurant in Luling City, ordered a few signature dishes and ordered a braised pig’s blood. After they were served, Gu Louyin didn’t move his chopsticks but first tasted the rice cake Xiao Yuan gave him.
After he had finished a bite, Xiao Yuan asked, “How is it?”
Gu Louyin said, “Sweet.”
“Well, I like sweet ones.“ Xiao Yuan took a piece of pig blood and put it in Gu Louyin’s bowl, “You have lost too much blood, so make up for it.”
Gu Louyin frowned faintly as he looked at the pig blood in the bowl. After hesitating, he took a bite with his chopsticks.
One of the signature dishes was called ‘Happy pork’, and the chef inserted a sugar figurine in the shape of a suckling pig into it in order to add colour to its flavour. The brown-yellow suckling pig had a round belly and big ears, which was really cute.
Xiao Yuan played with the sugar figurine in his hand and said slowly, “When I saw this pig, I thought of my annoying shidi.”
Gu Louyin: “…why.”
“When I was young, Shizun once took me and my shidi to play in the streets. There was an old man making sugar figurines on the street. My shidi watched the old man make a sugar figurine so intently that he stood in front of the stall for a long time and refused to leave. At that time, his teeth were changing and he was talking with a lisp, and Shizun would not let him eat sweets. I was young, ignorant, and was deceived by his pitiful little eyes and bought a little sugar pig for him behind Shizun’s back.” Xiao Yuan smiled lazily, “Who knew that he would take the sugar pig and throw it to the ground. The piglet was smashed to pieces, he stepped on it a few more times and told me fiercely ‘Who asked you to buy it for me’. I was so frightened that I cried. It took a lot of effort from Shizun to coax me. Master Gu, comment on it, is my shidi annoying?”
Gu Louyin thought for a while, “Young children are ignorant, so don’t worry too much about it.”
Xiao Yuan bit off the tail of the sugar piglet, “Master Gu, doesn’t it hurt your waist being an armchair expert (someone who asserts their knowledge of a subject without having a real understanding of it). Let’s not talk about my shidi, let’s talk about your Shixiong, what kind of person is he?”
Gu Louyin’s response was only three words: “He’s very good.”
After the meal and tea, Xiao Yuan said, “I don’t know how Master Gu plans to find his Shixiong.”
“Does Master Xiao have a good strategy?”
Meng Chi only said that Gu Louyin’s Shixiong was in Luling City, but Luling City was neither big nor small, and it was not easy to find someone without a specific location. Xiao Yuan took a sip of tea, “Let me think about it.”
The two of them were sitting by the window on the second floor. Xiao Yuan noticed that the opposite street was crowded with people and everyone was gathered in one place, as if they were watching something lively. As the waiter coincidentally came to serve food, Xiao Yuan asked what happened there.
The waiter was overjoyed to see that such a beauty had taken the initiative to talk to him, so he told them everything he knew. “Answering the honorable guest, that is the notice posted by the governor of Luling City. I heard that a lot of strange things happened in the governor’s mansion recently. It was so evil that the governor had no choice. Since it was not possible to go on like this, the governor began to search all over the city for experts who could exorcise evil spirits and ghosts. After the exorcism is completed, he will not only give the expert a large sum of money, but also betroth his daughter! Honorable guest, please tell me, isn’t it beautiful?”
“Beautiful, very beautiful,” Xiao Yuan said with a smile, “It seems that there are not only pies in the sky, but also future wives.”
Xiao Yuan rewarded the waiter with a few small coins and sent him away.
Gu Louyin said, “Let’s go and have a look.”
Xiao Yuan joked: “No way, does Master Gu want to be the son-in-law of the governor of Luling?”
“I don’t want to.”
“Then you want to help others?”
“If my Shixiong is in the city, he will definitely not sit idly when he hears about this matter.” Gu Louyin said, “If he is not there, we can entrust the governor of Luling to find him.”
The second half of Gu Louyin’s sentence was exactly what Xiao Yuan thought. The young master of Yunjian Pavilion had a cold temperament but he was not pedantic; at least he was a smart person.
After Xiao Yuan hadn’t answered for a long time, Gu Louyin continued: “If Master Xiao doesn’t want to go, we will separate.”
Xiao Yuan said, “I won’t separate from you, I’m going.”
When the two of them came to the governor’s mansion, they didn’t need to introduce themselves. The guard at the door saw their manners and appearance and thought that the immortals had descended to the earth, so he rushed to the mansion to report. Soon, the governor of Luling City trotted all the way out and personally welcomed them to the mansion.
The governor of Luling City was forty years old. His appearance was unimpressive, his eyes watery and his posture weak; he looked like a man of many desires. His daughter, on the other hand, had bright eyes and white teeth and was as beautiful as a flower.
The governor regarded Xiao Yuan and Gu Louyin as his guests and asked his daughter to bring them tea and pour water.
The governor was all smiles: “Master Immortals, look at my youngest daughter…”
Gu Louyin said calmly: “My lord, there is no need to say more. Please tell us what happened in the mansion.”
The governor sighed and said, “To be honest, from the end of last month to the present, three corpses appeared in the mansion one after another, and their deaths were extremely tragic. They were either burned until scorched, or their faces were smashed beyond recognition by something sharp. And one was torn apart and the body parts were scattered in all corners of the mansion, the stench horrible…” As the governor said that, his face turned pale as if he was going to be sick.
Xiao Yuan noticed an unusual detail. The governor said that “three corpses appeared”, not three people died. “Have you checked the identity of the deceased?”
“We checked but didn’t find anything.” The governor shivered and said, “The governor’s mansion has one hundred and twenty-three people.”
Gu Louyin said, “Have you searched in Luling City?”
“Yes, but I haven’t heard of anyone missing, and the authorities haven’t received a report.”
Xiao Yuan said thoughtfully, “So the murderer killed someone and deliberately threw the bodies into the governor’s mansion? What did he do this for?”
“Master Immortal, no one in my Luling City would ever dare to make trouble with me.” The governor lowered his voice, “I’m afraid it’s not humans who did these things.”
Xiao Yuan turned to Gu Louyin: “Master Gu, what do you think?”
Gu Louyin said, “Need to investigate.”
Xiao Yuan smiled and said, “My lord, don’t worry, since Master Gu has spoken, he will definitely investigate this until the truth comes to light.”
The governor was overjoyed: “Thank you, Master Immortals. I am so grateful. If Master Immortals don’t mind, can my youngest daughter serve you?”
Xiao Yuan’s smile became colder, “This is not a good idea, at any rate, the young lady is a daughter of a noble family, how can she serve others?”
“Master Immortals thinks my youngest daughter looks ugly?”
“It is also true that compared to Master Immortal, even the most beautiful woman is vulgar. It’s a good thing I still have five unmarried daughters who can be barely looked at, so why don’t I let Master Immortals choose from them?” The governor looked at Gu Louyin expectantly, “Master Immortal, what do you think?”
Xiao Yuan’s smile disappeared completely, “Do not get flashy and unrealistic. With me around, does your lordship think Master Gu would look at anyone else?”
Gu Louyin: “…”
As if the governor had been hit hard, he said with trepidation: “Yes, it was my negligence.”
Xiao Yuan patted the governor on the shoulder and smiled, “I understand the kindness of your lordship. Your daughters will be spared, but we do have a favour that your lordship might be able to help with.”
The governor wiped his sweat, “Master Immortal, please speak.”
“We are looking for someone whose name is–”
Gu Louyin said, “Lin Wulian.”
If one wanted to know whether it was a human or a ghost who killed and dumped the corpses, one needed to see the corpses. The three corpses were stored in a coffin home (a temporary depository of coffins with recently deceased people) on the outskirts of the city. At this time, it was late. Xiao Yuan suggested resting in the mansion first, and then going to the coffin home early the next morning. Gu Louyin, however, wanted to solve it quickly.
Xiao Yuan said, “Master Gu, have you ever read a storybook? In these books, anyone who goes to the coffin home in the middle of the night has nothing good happen to them, so I advise you not to invite your own death.”
“Are you afraid?”
“- a little scared.”
“Then you stay here.”
Xiao Yuan wanted to persuade him again, but suddenly felt a flow of spiritual power – Xiao Du was looking for him.
Eventually Xiao Yuan changed his words and said, “Okay, go ahead, I will wait for you at the governor’s mansion.” Based on Gu Louyin’s cultivation level, ordinary demons and ghosts were not his opponents, so there was nothing to worry about.
After Gu Louyin left, Xiao Yuan went to the guest room prepared for them by the governor, sent away the servants and took out his earring.
A familiar female voice came: “Master Xiao, it’s Meng-jiejie.”
…… One minute Meng Chi, the next Xiao Du, what’s going on?
Xiao Yuan whispered, “Is the Venerable Lord by your side again?”
“No, the Lord has gone to practice swordsmanship with the young lord and he won’t be back for a while.”
Hearing that Xiao Du was not there, Xiao Yuan felt a lot more casual, “It just so happens that I have something to ask my jiejie. Jiejie, are you sure that Lin Wulian is hiding in Luling City? Can I find where exactly?”
“Who is Lin Wulian?”
“Gu Louyin’s Shixiong.”
“Oh, I did find out that he entered Luling City, but then there was no news. My people are still checking.”
“Okay, thank you for your trouble, jiejie.”
“You’re welcome.” Meng Chi smiled and said, “How are you doing?”
“It’s going pretty well.”
“I was not wrong, Gu Louyin is indeed a charming young man with both talents and looks, almost worthy of your face. Where is he now?”
“He went to the coffin house.”
Xiao Yuan told Meng Chi about the governor’s mansion. Meng Chi was not interested in the killed people and discarded corpses. She griped at Xiao Yuan for letting Gu Louyin go alone: “Are you stupid? Why didn’t you go with Gu Louyin at such a time and win his trust? Do you still want the antidote to the Flame poison?”
Xiao Yuan was speechless for a while, “Wasn’t jiejie looking for me? Did jiejie take advantage of the Lord’s absence to find me just to say this?”
Meng Chi’s tone became serious: “No. I have one thing to tell you, the Lord won’t let me say it, but…”
Xiao Yuan said with a serious expression: “Speak.”
Meng Chi took a breath and said, “Someone came from your shimen (school/sect).”
Xiao Yuan’s heart sank; his shimen had only three people: “Was it my Shizun?”
“No, it’s your shidi.”
Xiao Yuan thought he had heard it wrong, “…huh?”
“Your shidi came uninvited, and His Lordship met him out of respect for your Shizun. Who knew he was here to ask for someone.”
“What did he want?”
“He said to His Lordship, ‘Since my Shixiong is not the younger brother you were looking for, you should return him to us’.”
Too frightened, Xiao Yuan didn’t know what to say for a while, so he could only listen to Meng Chi’s words: “Then what?”
“Then…” Meng Chi shuddered, “The Venerable Lord was angry.”
Xiao Yuan had never seen Xiao Du angry before. When he was Xiao Du’s younger brother, Xiao Du was always a gentle and considerate gege in front of him. Later, he was no longer his brother but Xiao Du didn’t seem to get angry either. He just waved his hand and asked someone to lock him up and stopped seeing him.
Xiao Du, the Demon Lord who didn’t usually show his anger, was angry with his annoying shidi; Xiao Yuan couldn’t understand.
Meng Chi continued: “The Venerable Lord asked your shidi to get out of Xingtian Sect. Not only did your shidi not listen, but he also wanted to attack the Venerable Lord. In the end, he was knocked away with a palm blow before he could even get close to the Lord. At that time the Venerable Lord was really ready to murder him. Fortunately, I tried my best to coax him, so your shidi was able to keep his life, but after all, it was a palm blow from the Venerable Lord. He was able to survive but he must have suffered a serious injury.”
Xiao Yuan said solemnly: “I thank Meng-jiejie for my shidi.”
Meng Chi smiled and said, “You are welcome. Jiejie likes handsome young men the most. I couldn’t bear to see your shidi look for death.”
As soon as Meng Chi stopped talking, Xiao Du’s cold voice sounded in the earring: “What are you talking about, let this venerable also listen.”