On Goldie’s back, Lin Luoran and Wen Guanjing arrive soon at the opposite bank. They successfully meet Li Xi’er and others.
There is not much time left. Lin Luoran thought that Wen Guanjing would take all of them directly to the exit. However, Wen Guanjing draws Lin Luoran aside and whispers to her.
“Tell them to wait at the exit?” Lin Luoran frowns. People say that there will be lucky chances in the secret land. Lin Luoran believes that meeting the White Fairy is already the luckiest thing that happened to her. The loss may outweigh the gain if she takes the risk of accompanying Wen Guanjing to the place he is talking about.
Wen Guanjing understands that his request is a little bit too much, but among all the Huaxia cultivators here, no one but Lin Luoran is able to accompany him to go to the place. As a result, Wen Guanjing’s only option is to have the cheek to ask her.
Lin Luoran will probably just refuse if someone else asks her. However, as she has not yet been free from the mortal world and she still has to face people in authority after leaving the secret land, she reconsiders his request. Wen Guanjing is an important figure in the special department of Huaxia. It seems that…the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages if she helps him.
After a few minutes of weighing, Lin Luoran tells Li Xi’er to leave first and wait at the exit. Having gone through the past few days, Li Xi’er is no longer the little girl who knew nothing about the world. She understands that Lin Luoran and Wen Guanjing have something to do privately. Why not just go to the exit together with these brothers and stop being a follower of the two? Being well protected will take away all the fun of coming to secret land.
Wen Guanjing thought it would take a lot of effort to persuade his brothers, however, he doesn’t know that they are young and adventurous. With Wen Guanjing around, they are certainly safe, but they have also lost a lot of fun. They all desire to be separated from “supervision” for a while and enjoy a good exploration of the secret land!
Lin Luoran watches the joy of them and shakes her head a little bit. They are indeed well protected. If they come across what she has encountered in the bat cave, maybe they can become more sensible.
But… Isn’t that one of the purposes of coming into the secret land? To give these young cultivators a chance to grow up quickly?
Thinking about this, Lin Luoran is still afraid that Li Xi’er may come to grief. She waits until these young people who have exaggerated opinions of their own abilities have gone far and asks Goldie to follow them. Goldie will be their secret bodyguard until it meets Lin Luoran again.
Wen Guanjing says nothing while watching everything. His impression of Lin Luoran is always changing after they become familiar little by little. It seems that every time he meets her, he can find something very different from her appearance, something very interesting… Wen Guanjing does not know if this is good or bad, but he just laughs in his heart and leaves this indecisiveness behind.
“Brother Wen, is the place you talk about under the river?” Lin Luoran can’t help asking, as she recalls what he said earlier.
Wen Guanjing nods his head, “It’s at the bottom of the river, but not here”, and he takes out the parchment. Lin Luoran realizes that this must be the thing all countries are contending for. However, it doesn’t look like anything strange, just a roll of shabby parchment.
It seems that Wen Guanjing is measuring the surrounding terrain. After a while, he packs up the parchment and leads Lin Luoran to the downstream of the river.
Lin Luoran follows him in silence. If Wen Guanjing’s destination is the bottom of the River, he can escape from the chasers even if she did not show up. What she is not sure is whether he had the thought of leaving all the younger cultivators on the bank, pretending to jump into the river but actually looking for the treasure at the bottom of the river on his own.
It is a little awkward that both of them are thinking about something and walking in silence. Fortunately, less than an hour later, Wen Guanjing seems to have found the location. He points at the river segment in front of them and says: “Right down here.”
Lin Luoran does not hesitate. For a cultivator in the later stage of Training Qi with water Taoist root, the “Water-dividing Spell” is very easy, but the size of the effect depends on the cultivator’s personal ability.
Lin Luoran makes the whole set of hand gestures and shouts, “Open!” The torrential water starts divide from the bankside, revealing a one-person-wide passage. Even they are near the bank, the river is dozens of meters deep. Besides, the river is torrential and mixed with sand, so there is very strong resistance. Lin Luoran frowns slightly and infuses more Reiki. Finally, after a moment, they see several stone steps beneath passage.
“Here it is!” Wen Guanjing’s normally expressionless face is now expressing happiness. It shows how much he values the destination.
Lin Luoran nods, “Let’s go.”
They jump onto the river bed and, without paying attention to sticky mud, quickly run to the passage under the stone steps.
As soon as Lin Luoran gets there, water pours down and fills up the separated area. On the vast Sand River, waves are rolling from time to time. Everything seems to be natural and there is no evidence that someone has gone under the river.
Lin Luoran thought that it must be damp and dark in such a deep place. Unexpectedly, after opening a broken stone door, they come across a stone aisle with soft light.
Every few steps, they can see luminous pearls as large as a fist inlaid on top of the aisle. They must have been sending out soft light for many years.
The stone aisle is clean and tidy, and there are some murals with simple lines carved on both sides of it. The style of the murals is simple but very vivid. Even Wen Guanjing, who is eager to take something, cannot help stopping and looking at the murals on both sides carefully.
In the first mural, there are several mountains surrounded by clouds and mist, and many ancient pavilions and palaces. There are also people dressed in ancient clothes sitting under pine trees, gaining enlightenment by streams, or even flying on swords wearing long robes with wide sleeves… Lin Luoran looks at these mountains and finds them more and more familiar. Seeing how Wen Guanjing touches the mural with his trembling fingers, Lin Luoran suddenly realizes something with a flash of inspiration.
These mountains look extremely beautiful even in a mural. They are the mountains flooded when the Three Gorges Dam retains water!
“Is that…” Lin Luoran is so curious that she cannot help speaking.
It seems that Wen Guanjing knows what she is puzzled about. He calms down and smiles reluctantly, “Your guess is correct. These are the gates of the former Zu Mountain.”
Mountain Gate? Lin Luoran is shocked. If this is the gate of a cultivation school, why did they allow the government to build a dam and retain water? Since when did they become so generous?
There is a little bit of loneliness in Wen Guanjing’s eyes. He explains softly: “In the past, Zu Mountain School was strong and it owned all the famous mountains in Sichuan Province. The disappearance of masters of Gathering Vitality a thousand years ago weakened the world of cultivation… Today, there are tourists even on the highest mountains and it is just deceiving ourselves if we still keep the mountains as the gate. Besides, there is an inside story about the Three Gorges Dam. Zu Mountain School will not lose the greater for the less, so we just offered everything.”
Even though Wen Guanjing sounds generous, Lin Luoran feels his disappointment. Offering the mountain gates sounds embarrassing no matter how righteous they are or what kind of inside story is there. Lin Luoran asks casually, “You knew it was the palace left by the predecessors of Zu Mountain School before?” Is it possible that Wen Guanjing came into the secret land for this palace?
Lin Luoran feels chilly that she accompanies him in. What will happen if she accidentally knows their secrets?
Wen Guanjing shakes his head, “If we had known about this place, I would not have been the only Wen who comes in this time.”
Lin Luoran cannot tell whether he is telling the truth or not, and she does not want to pursue. She looks at the second mural, but for a moment, she is surprised and uncertain about the scene in the painting!