Chapter 156 Fleeting Reflections

All the three years, Goldie almost becomes a settled scenic spot of the Zhongshan Mausoleum.


Exposed to the sun and wind, Goldie’s feathers are shiny as usual. For Goldie whose life span is so long, three years mean nothing. Time is not Goldie’s enemy. Its enemy is the woman in black who sometimes comes and attacks it.


If Goldie didn’t have rapid speed and sharp feathers, it would already become a so-called “elixir” of the woman.


Therefore, Goldie has grown a lot from all these sneak attacks. It is no longer the silly hawk which had a standoff with Li Xi’er, an amateur cultivator, for three days — today’s Goldie can kill Li Xi’er with one strike!


The woman in black hasn’t shown up for half a year. Goldie doesn’t know where the woman has gone. However, it never lets down its guard. The silliness in its eyes is gone, and it looks more and more like a king. Most tourists don’t even dare to take pictures of Goldie anymore.


The golden hawk at Mount Zhong is the king of birds — this has become the common view of citizens of Huaxia.


As time passes, Goldie’s popularity doesn’t fade. Instead, smart businessmen have made lots of related products of it.


Goldie has become the representative which awakes the dream of myths deep in every Huaxia citizen’s heart.


What is the mysterious hawk guarding or waiting for at the Zhongshan Mausoleum?


Some portal websites have offered a reward for the accurate answer to this question. The users have made various strange guesses, but no one knows the answer for sure — some people actually know what Goldie is waiting for, yet they despise it.


For example, Huizhu, the superior of the Qingcheng Taoist Temple.


It is a summer afternoon. Huizhu makes some cinnabar and draws a figure. Huizhu looks much older after three years.


“Bang—” He draws a wrong line and the figure paper self-ignited, making some noise. He was supposed to show An how to draw a figure, but he doesn’t know why he made a mistake.


He has drawn the Teleport Figure for thousands of times. This time, he used the best vintage cinnabar and a brush pen made by the hair of a silver wolf. The figure paper was made of the essence of plants. Nothing is wrong with the things he used.


There is only one explanation for the mistake. His heart is uneasy.


He has lived 150 years. Few things can make his heart uneasy. What is this about?


Young master An is having a strange thought. Though it is disrespectful, no one else knows better about what happened three years ago than him. Since Huizhu has made a failed demonstration, An is distracted. He can’t help looking at the direction of Lin’s villa — in fact, what the Superior did was nothing bad. He only stood by and did nothing. However, An is embarrassed, which is the reason why he never visits the Lin family during the past three years.


Huizhu said that as the superior of a school, he doesn’t need too much emotions.


Empathy and mercy are his taboos.


An disagrees, but he doesn’t know how to argue. After all, he is not related to the Lin family. Although An is embarrassed by Huizhu’s actions, he will not argue with his master for the outsiders.


An actually doesn’t have too much impression on Sister Lin.


He knows that Luodong was rescued from the street by Sister Lin and her family members all treat Luodong as one of their own.


During the three months when the Qingcheng Taoist Temple and the Lin family had contacts, the “Sister Lin” An heard from Mr. and Mrs. Lin seemed to be a woman of few words. She was filial and could bear hardship.


The first time he actually met “Sister Lin” was the time when he delivered the book under his master’s order. Sister Lin did talk less, yet she seemed to be moderate with mud on her shoes. An believed that Sister Lin was exactly what the head cultivator of their generation should be like.


The second time he saw Sister Lin was when he went to Lin’s villa to find the woman in black. Sister Lin walked them out… That afternoon, the woman in black had a long conversation with the Superior. An served them tea. They seemed to be in peace. However, when the night fell, the woman and the Superior were in a battle.


An’s wounds at that night have long since healed. There is not even a scar on his body.


However, An feels that he now understands what “reality” means — as the qualified successor of the Qingcheng Taoist Temple, he must keep it real, right?


*********


Things are completely different in the villa on the Fragrant Hills.


The cottage room looks just the same with what Lin Luoran saw years before. However, Master Guo is not here.


It is a summer afternoon. Master Mu is scolding his grandson.


Mu Tiannan seems to be more mature after three years. As a man in his thirties now, of course, he doesn’t act like his old arrogant self anymore. Mu has started to take over some important business of his family. While the business is booming, Mu Tiannan wants to cultivate even more.


But his grandfather doesn’t agree.


The longer Master Mu refuses to let Mu Tiannan cultivate, the stronger the obsessiveness in Mu Tiannan’s heart becomes. During the over twenty years of his life, he never had any interests in cultivation, which was the reason why he gave the opportunity to his sixth younger brother. In fact, Mu Tiannan doesn’t know why he suddenly wants to step on the rough path of cultivation — perhaps he knows deep in his heart but he just doesn’t want to admit.


Mu Tiannan can’t hide his thoughts from his grandfather, yet Master Mu pretends to be ignorant.


“I heard that you bought a villa in R City?”


Mu Tiannan is surprised. He thought he had done this secretly enough, but his grandfather knew about this. Being a businessman for years, Mu Tiannan learns to avoid questions. He talks vaguely and switches the topic.


Master Mu sighs in his heart. However, he can’t bear to blame his grandson.


Thinking of his original intention of coming to visit his grandfather, Mu Tiannan hesitates for a while and says nothing. He turns around and goes downhill. Looking at Mu Tiannan’s back, Master Mu is worried much — how should he deal with his grandson’s stubbornness?


While driving out of the villa, Mu Tiannan receives a phone call which makes him feel irritated. How many groups of international mercenaries has he paid for? They can’t even explore the Mount Zhong. These mercenaries are just useless!


Mu Tiannan encourages himself. Next time, he must talk with his grandfather about this. He knows that there are some masters in his family. If they can help—


Mu Tiannan never thinks about whether Lin Luoran is dead or not. He always has this feeling that maybe Lin is trapped under Mount Zhong, waiting for someone to save her… Her hawk never leaves Mount Zhong for three years. She must be there!


After Mu Tiannan left, Master Mu waves his hand and calls for a paper crane. He immediately recognizes the handwriting of his old friend.


“The single Taoist root of earth. Do you want to recruit him or leave him for that man?”


The subtext here is that if both of them don’t recruit the boy, Huizhu will.


Master Mu puts on a self-mockery smile. It has been three years. Huizhu must be anxious. Huizhu lives so close to Lin’s villa where the talented cultivator is, but he can’t do anything. This is almost like a torture to his heart.


However, it has been three years and the “master in the level of Bearing Essence” never shows up. These old men almost can’t hold themselves back — if the mysterious master who is said to help cleanse Lin’s bone marrow doesn’t exist, what on earth has made an ordinary person with mixed Taoist root step on the path of cultivation and complete the level of Training Qi in a year?


Is it a one-off magical restorative, or some everlasting spirit treasures? What can thoroughly remold a person when the environment on earth has become so bad?


Is Lin Luoran the only one who knows about this? Is there a chance that all her family members know?


If they own something like that… Master Mu shakes his head. This possibility is just a huge test on people’s moral mind.


However, if Lin doesn’t show up soon, Master Mu and Guo won’t be able to suppress people’s desire.


*********


In the coldest area of northern Huaxia, there is a hill. Gullies are everywhere.


Liu Zheng, who is on his way to find an opportunity of cultivation, believes that he has met a “real immortal”.


A wrecked Taoist temple is on the hill, which is quite strange. Surprisingly, a crazy old Taoist lives in the temple. This place is so desolated. How can the Taoist survive?


The young owner of the Liu’s has become a traveler during the last three years. He didn’t want to manage his family business and he spent 300 days of a year outside. Carrying a hiking bag, Liu Zheng had been to most of the famous mountains in the country.


Weather in the wildland is certainly less comfortable than the air-conditioned room. Liu Zheng is not like Goldie which can’t be hurt by wind or sunlight. After three years, Liu Zheng’s skin becomes dark. His old friends may not be able to recognize him anymore if he takes off his classic gold-rimmed glasses.


Liu Zheng first arrived at this hill at the end of the second year after Lin Luoran disappears.


He believed that the crazy Taoist was out of the ordinary. Therefore, he settled on this cold and desolated hill. He personally prepared food and clothes for the crazy Taoist and slept in the tent he built.


Though the Liu family was rich, Liu Zheng never told his family where he was going. He didn’t let anyone follow him and just called home every month to let his family know he was safe. On this desolated land, Liu Zheng had to walk over ten miles downhill to a local village and traded with the villagers for food. Then, he would walk back, carrying loads of stuff.


Liu Zheng did climbing and walking like this twice a week. The back basket made the skin on his shoulder become callosity. Time passed. Liu Zheng now is able to carry a huge basket of stuff on to the hill with ease, yet the old Taoist never speaks a word.


Though Liu Zheng is always patient, he can’t help showing a bit of anxiety on his face. The old Taoist happens to see this.


“What? Are you impatient already?”


“Hmm…?”


This is the first time the old Taoist ever talks to Liu Zheng during all these years. Liu Zheng is in shock. When he finally understands what just happened, he doesn’t get so excited as he expected. Instead, his eyes are wet.


“Do you want to cultivate?” The old Taoist changes the topic. He doesn’t look so crazy when he gets serious.


“Yes. Please take me as your apprentice, senior.” Liu Zheng makes a kowtow, which is the ancient and serious etiquette.


The old Taoist looks Liu Zheng in the eye and asks: “Why do you want to cultivate?”


Forehead on the ground, Liu Zheng answers in a firm voice. He doesn’t talk about the Tao of nature or immortality. He only speaks out his heartful feelings.


“I am in love with a woman who is a cultivator…”


The old Taoist laughs weirdly and asks: “So you want to cultivate just to be with her?”


Liu Zheng makes another kowtow and shakes his head. He says: “She doesn’t love me back, and I never imagine to be with her. The truth is that she is in danger and I am not able to save her… This is the reason why I want to cultivate.”


Liu Zheng keeps making kowtows. After a while, the crazy old Taoist sighs and says: “Your Taoist root is not the best, and the path of cultivation is hard. Do you still want to cultivate no matter what will happen in the future?”


Liu Zheng gets the implicit meaning of the Taoist’s words. He is thrilled. Liu makes the last kowtow and calls the Taoist “master”.


Does he want to cultivate no matter what will happen? — he has traveled so far to find the opportunity. The answer is just so obvious.