The question that Wen Xiaoyi had asked was what Wen Leyang and Mumu were most concerned about. They had been constantly considering and weighing on how to begin to ask the question. They were afraid of saying the wrong thing and give themselves away by accident. They did not want to alarm this group of peculiar people who seemed like they could consume human flesh and pick their teeth with the bones. Somehow, Wen Xiaoyi was able to ask the question directly and in such a guileless manner so that there would be no suspicion put on their intentions of being there.
Red Grandaunt did not have the slightest amount of mistrust as she replied reproachfully, “That old mongrel, why did he not tell his apprentices of such an important matter!” She then lowered her voice suddenly and her tone of speaking became mysterious, “Little darlings, listen clearly. An ancient cave has emerged on Zhanyan Peak not too long ago. Soon afterward the dead trees grew leaves, wilted plants bloomed with flowers, old fountains began flowing, old trees confused crows….err, ignore the last four words. Anyhow they are all auspicious signs of the birth of an extraordinary treasure! This information has traveled far and wide and our party of rogue cultivators met up and decided to ascend the mountain to try our luck. For even if we were unable to acquire the treasure, the experience can still widen our knowledge!
However, Giant Bull shook his huge head, “Of course we are here for the treasure! If I were to discover the treasure, regardless of whether the opposers are from the Kunlun Mountains or Mount Shu, I will never give it away to anyone!”
Wen Leyang was taken by surprise, “Real…really? What kind of extraordinary treasure is that?” He pointed towards the distant Zhanyan Peak and commented, “It doesn’t look that special to me!”
Red Grandaunt chuckled, “Even I do not know what kind of extraordinary treasure will be revealed at Zhanyan Peak. The auspicious signs too have their limits. I’m satisfied as long as the treasure is still there, haha.”
Wen Xiaoyi frowned slightly, she had loved to read the novelty treasure-hunting records in the books at the Birth Trademark. Formerly, she had assumed that those were only myths but she is now unexpectedly in one such treasure-seeking scenario now. “These kinds of auspicious signs can only be seen by someone who has the ability to recognize yet. Yet that person would not share that information so easily, right?”
Wen Leyang gazed at the little girl with approval as he immediately made a detailed inquiry to Red Grandaunt, “Who was the one who shared this information?”
Red Grandaunt had a know-it-all expression and did not find that query to be unusual in any way at all, “Little darlings, are you not aware of what kind of place Mount Emei is? Even if an outsider were to discover the auspicious signs, there’s no way they can attain that treasure based on their own efforts alone. And the person who shared the information with everyone is naturally someone who is trustworthy. Otherwise, we will not have rushed here so anxiously.”
Wen Xiaoyi found this explanation extravagantly baseless and it only made her more puzzled, but she was unsure of what to ask in order to clarify the situation. Her confusion emphasized her adorable face and made her seem even more attractive and loveable.
Red Grandaunt had been a rogue cultivator for her entire life. Whether it was on both sides of the Changjiang River or anywhere else she had been before, she has never seen such a cute and lovely young girl. The old woman’s gaze overflowed with kindness as she gently explained, “There is a large faction entrenched on Mount Emei. If there is really an extraordinary treasure, they would not have allowed any outsiders to gather…”
Wen Xiaoyi scornfully huffed, “What kind of large faction are they, do you mean they are bandits? Is Mount Emei their home? How could they not let others have a chance at finding the treasure? Unless that treasure is inscribed with their house number!” However, the little girl had forgotten that the same thing had happened at the Nine Peaks Mountain after the Return-to-Before Herb has appeared there. The people from the Wen family’s Death Trademark regarded the mountain as their exclusive domain and forbade anyone from collecting the herbs.
The group of peculiar people felt vindicated by the little girl’s words and they cheered loudly. Giant Bull raised his voice above the noise and said, “Well said little maiden! It sounds to me that the little girl’s wisdom is much more impressive than that group of baldies!”
Red Grandaunt proudly smiled, “We will take a stroll on Zhanyan Peak as it’s in no violation of heaven’s law.”
The crowd of peculiar people were noisy, their footsteps were steady with a lax demeanor. These people inherently feared nothing while alone, and now that they had formed a group they became even more boisterous and reckless. It almost feels like there was nowhere under the sky that they dared not go together
Mumu gradually got closer to Red Grandaunt. As their conversations became more relaxed, she told the old woman the story of how they had found the sunken remains on their path, though she did not elaborate the identities of the deceased.
Re Grandaunt frowned and said, “From the way the corpses were found, that sounds like it was the Mountain Coffin Spell! How is it possible that this spell has appeared in Mount Emei?”
Giant Bull too felt that this was inconceivable, “It’s impossible that the people who live on Mount Emei know how to cast this kind of evil spell!” As soon as he’d said that, he slapped his thigh in revelation, “It must be the treasure! It’s attracting old, evil monsters! We should move quickly and not let them beat us to it!”
Wen Leyang bowed his head in silence and contemplated the words of the old woman. He tried hard to put the clues into order, for the moment they know that: an ancient cave that contained traces of Grand Master Tuoxie’s teachings was recently discovered on Zhanyan Peak; the Wen family’s elites that had vanished after going to investigate this cave; the disciples of Wen who were massacred by a diabolical spell on the mountain; and now a group of rogue cultivators going treasure-hunting in the cave at Zhanyan Peak.
Wen Xiaoyi looked towards Wen Leyang whose brows were wrinkled while deep in thought. She put her little mouth next to his ear and told him in a quiet voice, “Wen Leyang, I think that we should leave this group. I heard from them that there is a great power on Mount Emei. Think about it, if these people had invaded the Nine Peaks Mountain instead, our people from the Death Trademark would have already retaliated long ago…”
Wen Leyang chuckled as he covered his ear and stomped his feet, “That tickles!” His actions almost threw the little girl off his back.
Once the tickling sensation subsided, Wen Leyang straightened himself and softly replied Wen Xiaoyi, “It’s already too late to leave. This large crowd has definitely been looking for trouble since the beginning. There is no taboo against fighting one another in this place, so they would have been targeted long ago. I estimate that if we were to break away from the group now, we will immediately be carried off by the people who are targeting this group.”
The little girl made a helpless expression before raising her voice and shouted towards Giant Bull, “Hey fat uncle, who is the great power in Mount Emei?”
Giant Bull was stunned for a moment. He stretched out his finger as thick as a small wooden club and pointed to his bulbous nose, “Are you calling me ‘fat uncle’?” He then broke into laughter at the little girl, amused that ‘fat uncle’ was a pleasant form of address. Once his laughter had cleared, he replied, “There is a huge Great Mercy Temple located in Mount Emei, it is considered rather famous.”
Red Grandaunt, who was walking on the side, gave a forced smile as she shook her head, “It is far more than just rather famous, it is the holy land for those who practice Buddhism around the world. Whatever the old abbot decrees, every Buddhist practitioner under the sky will never refuse to obey.”
Wen Leyang interrupted her and asked, “Is it bigger than the Great Mercy Temple at the Sun Dynasty Palace?”
Giant Bull was slightly awed, “How can a young fellow like you know of the Sun Dynasty Palace?” He shook his head with a face full of disdain as he said, “It is beyond comparison, the sous chef of the Great Mercy Temple here can become the founder of a Buddhist sect if he ever goes to the Sun Dynasty Palace.”
Wen Leyang’s small group merged with the treasure-hunting rogue cultivator’s procession. They marched forward with great strength and swiftness as they headed towards Zhanyan Peak. Red Grandaunt really adored the three children very much and took good care of them along the way. She also answered all of their questions so Wen Leyang took the opportunity to try to understand more about the rogue cultivators. However, he did not have the slightest foundation in cultivation and therefore did not learn any useful information despite asking countless questions.
As they moved along, more and more peculiar looking persons with suspicious backgrounds joined the procession in groups of twos and threes. Before joining the crowd, the newcomers would go pay their respects to the old man Gongye, Giant Bull and Red Grandaunt. By the time the sun has set, the procession had already expanded to more than three hundred people. Wen Leyang, Wen Xiaoyi, and Mumu looked at one another in astonishment and felt that they had become the extra cast in a Journey to the West television series.
If the police were to enter the mountain now, they would issue a third-class warning just on the looks of this group of people alone.
They took a short rest at night and continued to push on in the morning. They were in high spirits and did not seem to be even slightly exhausted. Mumu and Wen Xiaoyi, on the other hand, were almost totally exhausted. They arrived at the bottom of Zhanyan Peak soon after. As they looked up towards at the peak from below, it almost looked like a Sky Sword had stabbed into the ground hilt first. There was not a strand or grass or a tree on the peak at all, it was an entirely black gigantic cliff. If they were ordinary people, it would have been impossible to climb it without mountaineering tools.
The procession that had been noisy earlier suddenly quieted down as the crowd looked at the imposing manner of the peak. A few of the more timid ones even appeared nervous.
Suddenly a childish voice cried out in alarm from behind a huge rock.
The old man Gongye who had been at the head of the crowd waved his arm and everyone stopped in their place. Giant Bull made a ‘humph’ sound as he pushed his way forward with his huge upper arms until he was beside Gongye.
Red Grandaunt had a half smile on her face as she turned to Wen Leyang and said, “Do not worry, we had known from the beginning that the Great Mercy Temple will send someone to block our path.”
With bright eyes and graceful eyebrows, a young acolyte who looked to be around seven or eight years of age walked out in front of them. He was dressed shabbily and had a drowsy look on his face. It was obvious that he had been lazing on the job and had fallen asleep earlier. He held a wooden fish, a type of percussion instrument found in a Chinese temple, and had run out in a great bustle. His lips were stuttering as if he wanted to speak but dared not.
The little monk did not even dare to look at the group of people in front of him, instead, his eyes were firmly fixed upon the tips of his toes. He sighed for a long while before he finally gathered enough courage to say, “Y-y-you… the Master said, to let me…n-n-not to let you…ascend the peak. Please r-r-return to w-where you came from.”
While he was saying that, his hand trembled anxiously and he knocked on the wooden fish continuously.
Giant Bull stared with his eyes as huge as brass bells, as he asked in a low, muffled voice, “Who is your Master?”
The little monk suddenly opened his mouth wide and bawled loudly. He held tightly to the wooden fish as he turned around and ran away.